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Found 2 results

  1. With eleven goals through 21 appearances, a strike rate that exceeds that of his celebrated teammate, Kaka – though some have pointed to Kaka's play-making as a corollary of the Canadian's success – Cyle Larin has proved himself an exciting prospect in his first MLS season. That those eleven goals have come from just 20 shots on target is even more impressive, perhaps indicative of his precision when chances materialize. So, what is it about his game that makes him such a formidable opponent? Recalling his earliest encounters with Larin in the Fall of 2006, Sigma FC's Bobby Smyrniotis, described him thusly: “He was a typical boy, who at those ages was able to get behind defenders, score quite a lot of breakaways and so on, but you also saw that he had a love for the ball and that's what we saw in the first few sessions. “He had a good ability for the game and you knew that you could round him into a player going forward. There was possibility there, but at the same time, he was an 11 year-old, so you look at the potential at that point and you hope for the best, never knowing exactly if it's going to turn out.” It may have been all possibility back then, but as Larin stepped up to the MLS stage, Smyrniotis could be more definite on his prognosis. “People are misled sometimes by his size and his stature as he was growing up, and even in College Soccer. A lot of people will always talk about his big frame, he's a big guy and he's fast, but the best parts to his game are his feet and his technical ability. “He's a very clean player, he's very comfortable on the ball; that was a big focus on him as he developed. He was always going to be a big boy and have some athletic attributes, but to really be a top-class player and have the ability to do that it was important that he was a well-rounded soccer player: able to combine in midfield, able to play, knowing how to finish with both feet, from a lot of different ranges on the field; through combination play, getting behind, in the air, quick releases; all of these things, a lot of this is starting to show in his game, obviously at this level in MLS.” Smyrniotis, who watches every match Cyle plays and stays in contact with his protege, when asked for his favourite moment from the nascent professional career offered up this response. “I'll always say his first goal. It's something special, and it's also something different that showed a little of his ability to score in different ways. He took it off the chest and it wasn't by accident he did that, and I thought, very good looking.” Natural and learned talent are one thing, but for Jason deVos, another aspect of the young player has grabbed his attention. “What I really like about him is what I hear from the coaches that have worked with him,” said deVos. “I've talked to Adrian Heath, I've talked to Mark Watson, a former National Team teammate, about him. The one thing that really jumps off the page about Larin is his willingness, his desire to learn and take in knowledge, to improve and get better. “By no means does he believe he's the finished article, he's only 20 years-old, he's got a long, long career ahead of him, both for Orlando and for Canada. One of the key ingredients of any successful player professionally is that they have to learn and develop and get better from day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, year-to-year, and I've seen evidence of that from him just this season in his first year. And also from talking to his coaches that are working with him on a daily basis, that's one of the first things they say about him: that he's getting better all the time, which is a real plus for him.” But deVos also cautioned about expecting too much, too soon of the player; a poignant point given the tendency of the desperate to exaggerate hope. “It's very, very early in his national team career for putting any expectation on his shoulders. It's quite unfair really to have anyone suggest that he's going to be the one to carry the goal-scoring weight that the National Team will require. “But he's got a lot of promise, he's got a lot of potential. He's already shown in his professional career so far this year that he is capable of scoring goals at the professional level. Now, there's a big jump up from scoring goals in MLS to scoring goals internationally, and I think we need a bigger body of work to really assess whether he can make that transition. “It's a big step up, make no mistake about it, going from playing in MLS to leading the line for your country and hopefully leading them to qualification is a big, big jump. I think it's really unfair to put that pressure on him, because I just don't think that he's ready yet to bear that responsibility.” Larin has already registered two goals in qualifying, scoring in each leg against Dominica, but given the struggles at the Gold Cup, perhaps it would be wise to take deVos' advice and not expect Larin to be the answer to every problem. He cut a frustrated figure in the first leg against Belize, unable to get the final touch required to find the back of the net on several occasions. His ability to get into those spots, however, is reason enough to celebrate, if in an understated manner. Give the kid time, let him continue to learn and develop, while the rest of the team coalesces for the challenge of qualification. He will not be the solution alone, but his addition does make the math a touch more palatable. In the first post in this series, the Story Behind the 'C' in Cyle was explained, while the second looked back for a comparable Canadian Talent. James can be followed on twitter @grawsee and more of his writing is available at Partially Obstructed View In the course of preparation for a feature on Cyle Larin for MLSsoccer.com there were several interesting points that had to be left out of the final draft. As such, over the past week, with Canada on the verge of moving on to the next stage of World Cup Qualification campaign following the away leg of the series against Belize on September 8, those threads have been fleshed out here at Canadian Soccer News. The third in the series: What it is about Larin's game that makes him such a potent striker? With eleven goals through 21 appearances, a strike rate that exceeds that of his celebrated teammate, Kaka – though some have pointed to Kaka's play-making as a corollary of the Canadian's success – Cyle Larin has proved himself an exciting prospect in his first MLS season. That those eleven goals have come from just 20 shots on target is even more impressive, perhaps indicative of his precision when chances materialize. So, what is it about his game that makes him such a formidable opponent? Recalling his earliest encounters with Larin in the Fall of 2006, Sigma FC's Bobby Smyrniotis, described him thusly: “He was a typical boy, who at those ages was able to get behind defenders, score quite a lot of breakaways and so on, but you also saw that he had a love for the ball and that's what we saw in the first few sessions. “He had a good ability for the game and you knew that you could round him into a player going forward. There was possibility there, but at the same time, he was an 11 year-old, so you look at the potential at that point and you hope for the best, never knowing exactly if it's going to turn out.” It may have been all possibility back then, but as Larin stepped up to the MLS stage, Smyrniotis could be more definite on his prognosis. “People are misled sometimes by his size and his stature as he was growing up, and even in College Soccer. A lot of people will always talk about his big frame, he's a big guy and he's fast, but the best parts to his game are his feet and his technical ability. “He's a very clean player, he's very comfortable on the ball; that was a big focus on him as he developed. He was always going to be a big boy and have some athletic attributes, but to really be a top-class player and have the ability to do that it was important that he was a well-rounded soccer player: able to combine in midfield, able to play, knowing how to finish with both feet, knowing how to from a lot of different ranges on the field; through combination play, getting behind, in the air, quick releases; all of these things, a lot of this is starting to show in his game, obviously at this level in MLS.” Smyrniotis, who watches every match Cyle plays and stays in contact with his protege, when asked for his favourite moment from the nascent professional career offered up this response. “I'll always say his first goal. It's something special, and it's also something different that showed a little of his ability to score in different ways. He took it off the chest and it wasn't by accident he did that, and I thought, very good looking.” Natural and learned talent are one thing, but for Jason deVos, another aspect of the young player has grabbed his attention. “What I really like about him is what I hear from the coaches that have worked with him,” said deVos. “I've talked to Adrian Heath, I've talked to Mark Watson, a former National Team teammate, about him. The one thing that really jumps off the page about Larin is his willingness, his desire to learn and take in knowledge, to improve and get better. “By no means does he believe he's the finished article, he's only 20 years-old, he's got a long, long career ahead of him, both for Orlando and for Canada. One of the key ingredients of any successful player professionally is that they have to learn and develop and get better from day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, year-to-year, and I've seen evidence of that from him just this season in his first year. And also from talking to his coaches that are working with him on a daily basis, that's one of the first things they say about him: that he's getting better all the time, which is a real plus for him.” But deVos also cautioned about expecting too much, too soon of the player; a poignant point given the tendency of the desperate to exaggerate hope. “It's very, very early in his national team career for putting any expectation on his shoulders. It's quite unfair really to have anyone suggest that he's going to be the one to carry the goal-scoring weight that the National Team will require. “But he's got a lot of promise, he's got a lot of potential. He's already shown in his professional career so far this year that he is capable of scoring goals at the professional level. Now, there's a big jump up from scoring goals in MLS to scoring goals internationally, and I think we need a bigger body of work to really assess whether he can make that transition. “It's a big step up, make no mistake about it, going from playing in MLS to leading the line for your country and hopefully leading them to qualification is a big, big jump. I think it's really unfair to put that pressure on him, because I just don't think that he's ready yet to bear that responsibility.” Larin has already registered two goals in qualifying, scoring in each leg against Dominica, but given the struggles at the Gold Cup, perhaps it would be wise to take deVos' advice and not expect Larin to be the answer to every problem. He cut a frustrated figure in the first leg against Belize, unable to get the final touch required to find the back of the net on several occasions. His ability to get into those spots, however, is reason enough to celebrate, if in an understated manner. Give the kid time, let him continue to learn and develop, while the rest of the team coalesces for the challenge of qualification. He will not be the solution alone, but his addition does make the math a touch more palatable. In the first post in this series, the Story Behind the 'C' in Cyle was explained, while the second looked back for a comparable Canadian Talent. James can be followed on twitter @grawsee and more of his writing is available at Partially Obstructed View
  2. The last few years have been tough on fans of Canadian soccer. Successive underwhelming Gold Cups, the 'best midfield in CONCACAF' passing their prime, further frustrations in World Cup Qualification, and player defections, not to mention the match that shall not be named. But in the background, a solid core of young talent has come to the forefront. There is no need to read out the roll call, readers of Canadian Soccer News will be well aware of the names, but with Qualification for the 2018 World Cup underway, and Canada suffering through a lack of goals, one player stands atop that list: Cyle Larin. Playing with Orlando City SC in MLS after a stellar NCAA career at UConn, Larin has racked up 11 goals through 21 appearances in his rookie season to sit on the cusp of a new record for the last five matches. He looked to have set the mark on the weekend in Chicago, but the tally was deemed an own-goal off Fire defender Eric Gehrig, despite claims from Larin to the contrary. No need to worry, Larin has seven games remaining to achieve the feat. In ten caps for the National Team, Larin has already netted three goals, scoring in a friendly against Puerto Rico in March before taking chances in each leg of the Second Round series of 2018 Qualification against Dominica. He, like the rest of the side, failed to score in this summer's Gold Cup, despite a glorious chance or two, but that has done little to diminish the hope that Larin represents. The question remains: When was the last time Canada had a potential striking talent like Larin in their midst? For TSN Analyst Jason deVos, the answer came quickly: “The one, from looking back over the last 20 years or so, that really stands out, would be someone like Tomasz Radzinski, who scored goals at a young age in the old CSL and then went overseas and had success there and then joined the Canadian team.” “He was the one,” continued deVos, “that everyone looked at as being somebody that could score goals for the best part of a decade for Canada. He certainly had his ups and downs with the National Team, given his situation in Europe at the time, but someone like Tomasz, who was an exciting prospect as a youngster” was the answer. Radzinski, who enjoyed a stellar, if migratory, career in Europe – he scored some 190 goals in 500 appearances (according to Wikipedia, apologies) – was limited to 46 appearances for Canada over a fourteen-year span, scoring ten goals. “Cyle has that same level of excitement about him” noted deVos, though he was quick to point out Larin is, “a much different player,” with “a much different style of play.” A historical side note worth pointing out is that the only previous time Canada and Belize have met – back at a similar stage of qualification for the 2006 World Cup – Radzinski scored in both legs. As to whether deVos expects Larin to get the start against Belize on Saturday, he was less certain, “It's a hard one. You put a lot of pressure on a kid. The National Team program has been starved for success for a long, long time now, and it's difficult to just throw a youngster in there and expect him to score goals right from the get-go.” Over-expectation led to some minor soul-searching over the miss against El Salvador in the opening match of the Gold Cup, but deVos whisks away such reactionary despair, “I don't think that he should lose any sleep over that, every player makes mistakes, the important thing is that they learn from those mistakes. Given what I've heard from his coaching staff in Orlando, he's certainly learning, so I would certainly think he'll be in contention to start.” “Looking at that first series with Belize, it's one that we have to win, and to do so you have to score goals, and someone like Cyle Larin has proven he can do that, It's going to be a wait-and-see, but I won't be surprised at all if he's leading the line when it comes time to play Belize.” That is a decision that Benito Floro will have to make ahead of Friday's match. In the first post in this series, the Story behind the 'C' in Cyle was explained. Rest in Peace Graham, we owe you a huge debt of gratitude for sharing your passion for the game with a generation of Canadians. James can be followed on twitter @grawsee and more of his writing is available at Partially Obstructed View
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