Coming off of a preseason game with the Philadelphia Union, striker Cyle Larin spoke to media Thursday regarding the match and discussed the training intensity and the cultural shift within the team.
The Union preseason match, played in Clearwater, finished 3-3 after 135 minutes. Will Johnson, Carlos Rivas and Larin all notched goals in the match, but what was more important for Larin than scoring, was playing against some tough competition that the team will have to face later this year.
“I think it was good,” Larin said of the scrimmage. “I think everyone went out there and gave it their best and it’s getting better every game. Different guys come into the lineup and everyone’s getting to know each other again and I think it was good attacking wise. We’re getting better defensively. A little mistakes, but as a team we’re getting a lot better than before and I think we don’t give up as easily. We scored a couple of goals but we got scored on too, but I think that will come with time. Obviously it was an MLS team and it was just better to play against a team that we’re going to play against in the season.”
Coming off of a 14-goal season last year, Larin clearly laid out his personal goals for the 2017 season.
“Make sure I score goals and make sure I finish most of my chances,” Larin said. “Being quicker than the defender and working on my defensive work on the field and I know it helps the team and I know we get chances off of it.”
Now almost a month into preseason, the first under Jason Kreis, Larin remarked about how the culture of the team has changed from last year to this year and how they’ve improved both mentally and physically.
“I think that everyone doesn’t give up on plays anymore and they know that every play counts,” Larin said. “I think defensively we’re a lot better than last year and everyone’s working together. Everything we work on in training, we take to the field and it works. It’s just putting it into the game and getting used to the things he’s teaching us and I know that comes with playing more games and playing together with these guys. So, I think that when we do what he says, we get chances and we defend well.”
With the shift in mentality and the rigorous training sessions the team is going through, many things have changed within the team coming into 2017. The goal of the season, however, remains the same.
“Everyone has one goal and that’s to make sure we win a lot of games this year and make the playoffs.”