Cyle Larin has had plenty to cheer about this season and when he plays against NYCFC. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
Cyle Larin loves New York.
Oh, does he love New York.
The two New York teams in Major League Soccer, however, might not have the same exact sentiments about the Orlando City SC striker.
Larin has turned out to be a major thorn for New York City FC and the Red Bulls the past two-plus seasons, scoring an impressive 11 goals.
NYCFC, which hosts the Lions at Yankee Stadium Sunday at 1:30 p.m., might not have the same superlatives to describe the 22-year-old Canadian international’s performances.
He has found the back of the net seven times in six games against City since 2015, including the lone goal in the 1-0 season-opening win March 5, a header to the back post.
“Everything he’s doing is going his way and I think when you’re a striker like that with the confidence, things look easy,” NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said. “It will be important for us to be close, to be tight and not give him any space.”
Larin’s spoils include his first professional hat-trick in a 5-3 loss in the Bronx July 26, 2015, the lone NYCFC win in the series to date (Orlando holds a 4-1-2 record), three game-winning goals and a game-tying assist in stoppage time in a 2-2 draw at Yankee Stadium May 29, 2016.
The Canadian’s second hat-trick came in a 5-2 road win at the Red Bulls Sept. 25, 2015, in a 5-2 win. He has scored four goals against the Jersey side.