Orlando City SC has got NYC FC’s number. It is nine — the number Cyle Larin wears and the number of goals he has scored against NYC the past three seasons.
Since converting a hat trick in 2015, Larin has been a one-man wrecking crew against the MLS side. The Canadian international has tallied an astounding nine goals in seven matches, including twice in the Lions’ 2-1 victory at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
Orlando coach Jason Kreis called it “a monster performance.” Larin has feasted off New York teams with 13 goals in as many matches, having scored four goals in six matches against the Red Bulls. Against the rest of the league, he has 24 goals in 58 appearances.
“You have to give him a lot of credit because he was at the right place at the right time,” NYC coach Patrick Vieira said. “The way he finished was really good. I’m not surprised at all because we knew if he had the chance and he was in the box, he would finish.”
Orlando (5-1-0, 15 points), which snapped the home regular-season unbeaten streak of NYC (3-3-1) at 11 games while moving atop the Eastern Conference, improved to 5-1-2 against NYC. Both teams entered MLS as expansion teams in 2015.
“They are a tough team to play against,” Vieira said. “They are not a nice team to watch play but they are quite efficient. We created enough chances to win or least to take a point. We are the only ones to blame.”
Larin converted Scott Sutter’s right-wing cross while slipping past Maxime Chanot and Ethan White in the 31st minute and again in the 51st, heading home a left-wing cross past goalkeeper Sean Johnson from 6 yards.
“He scored two good goals in the box that could have easily been prevented,” forward Jack Harrison said.
David Villa sliced the lead in half in the 74th minute, but Huntington-born keeper Joe Bendik kept NYC at bay.
Kreis, fired as NYC coach after 2015, returned to the stadium for the first time as an opposing coach. “Each game that we play against New York City, the emotion gets less and less,” he said. “The attachment gets less and less. I didn’t have any extra motivation. It was just about the team having a solid road performance.”