In the 83rd minute of Saturday’s match, the Lions had the wind taken out of their sails. After leading for most of the match, the L.A Galaxy equalized off a strike from MLS newcomer Romain Alessandrini.
But the fans didn’t give up on them. And they didn’t give up on their fans.
“I think after the other team scored, they kept going,” Cyle Larin said after the match. “And we calmed down and started playing again.”
Larin had a couple of good chances in the match, but had been unable to find the back of the net. He didn’t give up hope; with the fans behind him, Larin kept pushing and found his moment.
“I’d been working the whole game and I was just waiting for my chance for the ball to come to me,” Larin said. “I just kept focused. I kept focused. I knew I was going to get my chance.”
That chance came in the 90th minute, when Will Johnson sent a corner kick into the 18-yard box. Larin found the ball at his feet, and launched it into the back of the net.
Our fans here are fantastic,” Johnson said. “I think that’s the loudest they’ve been all season, when Cyle scored that goal.”
The stadium erupted in cheers. The Lions held on for the remainder of stoppage time, earning the team’s fourth consecutive win at home.
“I think there are moments, there are tactical moments and things that you want to have happen to your team as you go through a season. One of them is to allow a goal late and see what the reaction is like,” Head Coach Jason Kreis said. “And so, I’m really, really pleased because if you went back and looked at it, immediately after we were scored on we actually had a goal chance against them. And so that shows to me a really positive reaction and a belief within the team.”
The goal also made Larin the top-scoring MLS player under 22. When asked, Larin said that the recognition is nice, but his purpose is to help his team.
“It motivates me to keep working hard to score more goals and help my team out,” Larin said. “But I think the most important thing this year is to help my team and to make sure I’m doing all I can to score goals and make sure we win. And that’s the most important thing. Team first. And if I do that, I’ll always score.”