Cyle Larin christened Orlando City’s new stadium on Sunday night, heading a pass across the penalty box from fellow Striker Giles Barnes and putting it into the back of the net.
Barnes could only smile about it after the match. “I think his neck grew two inches,” he said.
“I saw Giles get the ball and he looked up once and after he looked up I knew he was gonna cross it back post,” Larin explained. “He saw me and I needed to make sure I scored the goal.”
And he delivered. When Larin’s header hit the back of the net, the crowd erupted. While Larin said it felt great to score, it felt better to help his team.
“I wanted to win more,” Larin said. “And that was the most important thing, winning this game for the fans and the organization.”
Larin got praise from teammates and coaches alike after the match.
“He’s still very young, he’s very powerful, he’s energetic, he’s willing to learn,” Barnes said. “He’s a great finisher, he’s got all the tools to be a top, top striker.”
Head Coach Jason Kreis was more impressed with Larin’s growth as a defender rather than his growth as a striker.
“I think his instincts have been fantastic from day one in this league really, one of the most dangerous players in the penalty box, if he gets even one touch he’s liable to hurt you,” Head Coach Jason Kreis said. “And so, it’s the other stuff that I think is really growing his game and you saw tonight he put in a real solid shift for us tonight defensively and put some defenders under pressure.”
When asked about ‘what happens’ in that moment when he scores a goal, Larin couldn’t help but laugh. “What happens?” Larin asked. “I just put the ball in the back of the net.”