It’s hard to believe that the 2017 MLS season is a third of the way completed. But with well over half the season to play, Cyle Larin has already scored half as many goals as he did in all of last season. The Canadian has been instrumental in Orlando City’s strong start by leading MLS with four game-winning goals before today’s kickoffs. Given his fast start, Larin is primed to reach the 20-goal mark in his third MLS season.
With Orlando City, Larin scored 17 goals in his rookie season and added 14 more in his sophomore effort. This year, he is off to a flying start with seven goals in 11 matches. And he is the club’s all-time leading goal scorer with 38 goals in 70 MLS matches, averaging more than a goal every two games.
If Larin can avoid an injury setback this season — and if he can continue his current pace — he is on track to score 21 goals with a game to spare in the 34-game season. The number seems attainable after watching some of Larin’s clinical, one-touch finishing this season:
But 20 goals won’t be easy. While it does seem that Larin is off to a fast start this year, he is only one goal ahead of his total after 11 games last season, even though Larin missed two of the first 11 matches last season.
Only Bradley Wright-Phillips (24) and David Villa (23) topped the 20-goal mark in 2016. Sebastian Giovinco (22), Kei Kamara (22), and Robbie Keane (20) reached the mark in 2015. So it’ll be pretty lofty company if Larin can add his name to the 20-goal club.
Larin reaching 20 goals this season may prove to be a blessing and a curse for Orlando City in the long run. Europe’s interest in prying Larin away to greener pastures has been well documented. Orlando may be able to fend off a summer move this year, as the team looks to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in club history. Plus, the club stands to make more money from Larin’s transfer fee if they can hold onto him through his third year.
But if Larin does manage to bag 20 goals or more by the end of the season, the cacophony of European transfer rumors may finally carry Larin away from Orlando and MLS. With European scouts swirling, this season looks to be the best opportunity for Larin to get to 20 goals in MLS.
Sunday evening, Larin will get a chance to get back on the score sheet facing NYCFC —his favorite team to score against in MLS. Will 2017 be the year that Larin enters the 20-goal club? He has started hot enough to give himself a chance to reach that benchmark through the first third of the season, but there is still a long way to go in this campaign. Hopefully, Larin will stay healthy and have a chance reach that goal in an Orlando shirt.