Orlando City couldn't have dreamed for a better outcome in regards to the development of first-round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, Cyle Larin. The Canadian-born former UConn Husky set the MLS alight last season with 17 goals in 27 games and has continued upon a similar path this season, with 13 goals in 25 games.
The Orlando City forward has consistently found himself among the best scorers in MLS and has proven to be a reliable source of goals in a purple shirt. However, without a truly recognizable backup striker to their star forward, the Lions may face a few problems going forward in the near future.
The most pervasive of these problems should be quite obvious -- fitness. Orlando City has been lucky in regards to his fitness, with the Canadian having only missed seven games last season, and only one so far this season. Veteran Julio Baptista may come to mind as an immediate replacement in case of emergency, but at age 34, without consistent game time, many would agree that it wouldn't be long before Baptista himself went down with a niggle or two. Larin may not feel it now, but soon enough the toll of starting almost every single game will start to rear its irreversible head.
Part of the reason why Orlando tends to play Larin so much is because, stylistically, the Lions function very differently without him. To liken him to a professional in Europe, one might say Larin is quite like Oliver Giroud, only without the rampant inconsistency. Larin functions quite well as a hold-up striker, but also maintains the ability to play the ball on the ground. Not only is it difficult to find another player that fits that mold, but also one that is willing to sit the bench most games.
The shocking statistic that should worry most Lions supporters is that City has only won two games in which Larin has not scored in, not to mention the various draws that depended on his goals to salvage a point. The points made earlier about difficulty in replacement style are glaring in any situation, but what makes it worse is that the team doesn't seem to have a viable backup option for any play style.
As stated before, Larin has played in almost every meaningful game and is obviously the key to success when the team has gotten a favorable result. Yes, Orlando City has just recently started figuring out its own first-choice play style and starting 11 under the new coach, but an emphasis needs to be put on a backup system, especially since the current one is so dependent on one person.