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Cyle Larin Gives Orlando City the Best Goal Value in MLS

Of all the league’s premier forwards, Larin’s salary-to-production ratio makes him the biggest goal-scoring bargain in MLS for the Lions.

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City striker Cyle Larin is a beast. He’s off to a great start individually in 2017, and he’s a big part of Orlando City’s great start to 2017 as a club.

We know all of these things, of course, as he’s been one of the most prolific forwards in MLS over his first two seasons. But this week’s MLS salary release gives us another chance to appreciate Larin’s greatness from a different angle — just how valuable he is to the Lions in terms of price per goal.

Due to Larin still being on a Generation Adidas contract, he’s only making $192,000 in guaranteed salary this season, making him a big-time steal for Orlando. As FourFourTwo noted, he’ll be receiving a huge pay raise soon, whether it be from the Lions or by virtue of a move across the pond. For now, though, Larin’s relatively cheap price, combined with his top-shelf production, has made City’s selection of him at No. 1 in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft a home run.

Larin made $167,000 his rookie season and turned in a record-setting 17 goals, meaning City compensated the Canadian just $9,823 per goal that season. In 2016, Larin got a $10,000 pay bump and turned in 14 goals, putting his rate at a slightly more expensive, but still highly valuable $12,642 per score. That means that his 31 goals over the last two seasons cost $11,096 apiece. With six goals in six games to start ’17, his price per goal this year would be $32,000 if he didn’t net another one all season, and that mark is rapidly dropping with each new score (his price per goal dropped $16,000 last week in NYC alone).

Comparing that with Orlando City’s highest-paid player (from an on-field perspective only, of course, as his value goes far beyond the pitch), Kaká, who has been the league’s most handsomely paid player since he arrived in 2015, and the value per score becomes clear in perspective.

Kaká’s price per goal on his $7,167,500 salary over the last two seasons (18 goals) comes out to $796,388. When factoring in goals responsible for and totaling his assists in with his scoring tally, Kaká had a hand in 35 goals over the last two seasons — but that still puts his price per score at $409,571.

Another top goal scorer in MLS, David Villa, has been arguably the best striker in the league since he arrived two years ago. NYCFC will have zero qualms about his $5,610,000 salary given the return, but even with his 41 goals over 2015-2016, his price per goal is a hefty $273,658, still light years ahead of Larin’s. (Like Kaká, Villa’s superstar name recognition and legendary status in Europe mean his value also transcends on-field results, however.)

A more fitting comparison, perhaps, is Sporting KC and former Orlando City striker Dom Dwyer, who makes DP money (although he’s not a DP) at $668,750 this season. That’s a jump from his $618,750 salary last year, which was bumped by $100k from his 2015 figure. Dwyer has been stellar for SKC, scoring 28 goals over the last two years (right in the same neighborhood of output as Larin), but even he is costing Kansas City $40,625 per score over the last couple of seasons. Although Dwyer’s 22-goal 2014, while on only $92,500, smashed all in terms of value at $4,625 per goal, since the advent of Larin, the young Canadian has scored more for far less money.

We’ve dissected the many ways that Cyle Larin dominates MLS since his arrival in Orlando, but his price per goal is just one more thing that illustrates why he’s been such a great asset for Orlando. He deserves significantly more money, and any cash that comes from the Lions would be more than worth it — both as remuneration for one of the top scorers in the league, and because his eventual sale to a European club will net millions in the form of a transfer fee. The least we can do is pay the man like one of the best strikers in MLS.