It didn’t take long for Cyle Larin to top the scoring charts for Orlando City. In fewer than 90 matches in purple, Larin bagged his 43rd goal in all competitions during a 2-1 victory over D.C. United. It finally edged him past Orlando City legend Kevin Molino, who took six years to set the record, after leaving former cult heroes like Dennis Chin, Jamie Watson, and current teammate Dom Dwyer in the dust in just his second season.
It’s another pseudo trophy the Canadian can add to his mantelpiece as he has quickly become the best pure goal scorer in City history; he already holds the Orlando record for multi-goal games (seven), is tied for the record number of hat tricks (two), and all three of his seasons so far are top five in City history when it comes to hitting the back of the net. To make it even more impressive, he’s done it all at a higher level of the game and has made his name as one of the best strikers in today’s MLS.
All of these plaudits have obviously caught the eye of clubs abroad and there’s a bittersweet limit on just how high he can push his record. So let’s take a look at his five best goals that got him here:
No. 5: March 16, 2016 — 90+4’ vs. Real Salt Lake
It seemed to be a consolation in a disappointing start to the 2016 season. Deep into stoppage time and down 2-0, Brek Shea sent in a hopeful cross that found the outside of Larin’s boot and sailed into the top corner. It’s a trademark Larin trait to make a difficult shot look remarkably easy. It also happened to spark one of the most dramatic comebacks in MLS history as the Lions roared back to draw 2-2.
No. 4: June 14, 2015 — 82’ at Chicago Fire
While it was technically an own-goal from Adailton that ultimately sealed the victory for Orlando City, it was this phenomenal effort play by Larin that got the Lions back into this game in their inaugural season. Scrambling to win the ball back from two defenders and then letting it rip from outside the penalty box, Larin spurred the Lions on to victory.
No. 3: March 5, 2017 — 15’ vs. New York City FC
It still might be the most emotional goal in Orlando City history. Just 15 minutes into Orlando City Stadium’s debut, with captain and talisman Kaká out injured just a few minutes earlier, Larin took the roof off. Carlos Rivas and Giles Barnes did most of the work, but it was Cyle that made the run to the back post and he gets all the glory for his header and game-winner. The 1-0 victory set Orlando off on a hot streak that set even more records to start the year.
No. 2: April 15, 2017 — 90+1’ vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
This goal had everything: A stoppage-time winner, a beautiful volley into the roof of the net, extending the home winning streak in Orlando City Stadium, tossing Jermaine Jones to the turf like a ragdoll. Larin has rarely used his strength to out-muscle defenders like that in his career and never against a talented player like Jones in such a clutch situation.
No. 1: Sept. 25, 2015 — 24’ at New York Red Bulls
Larin had been in a slump for a bit during 2015. He’d finally managed to draw level with the MLS rookie goal scoring record in the beginning of August but couldn’t find that next goal and break through. The record-breaking 12th league goal finally came at the end of September — nearly eight weeks after his 11th — and it opened up the floodgates. A perfectly placed flick on from a Kaká corner beat Luis Robles and began a 5-2 rout where Larin extended his record with a hat trick on the night.
Obviously this doesn’t come close to all of the fantastic goals that Larin has scored over the last three years. It was difficult to leave out the blinder that capped off his first professional hat trick, his first goal as a Lion against Portland, the first goal scored by Orlando under Jason Kreis, or even a consolation curler against the Columbus Crew. And he’s still got a handful more of great goals beyond those. Hopefully he scores quite a few more before he makes his final farewell.
Are there any goals you think are more deserving of Larin’s top five so far? Let me know in the comments below.