ORLANDO – Former UConn striker and 2015 SuperDraft top pick Cyle Larin made history on Saturday night when he scored a pair of goals in Orlando City’s 5-2 win over Columbus Crew SC to tie the MLS rookie scoring record (11), held by former Husky standout Damani Ralph (’03).
The 2014 American Athletic Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year has tallied 11 goals in his first 16 professionals appearances, including five in his last two matches. Larin notched his first career hat trick on July 26 against New York City FC, marking just the eighth time a rookie has ever scored three goals in one game.
Larin sports a stellar 0.95 goals/90 minute mark and has buried 11 of his 18 shots on goal. City currently stands in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with a 7-9-6 record. On the international stage, the Brampton, Ontario native netted a goal in each leg of Canada’s 6-0 aggregate win over Dominica in the second round of the 2918 FIFA World Cup qualification.
Former Husky great Ralph, who was drafted 18th overall by the Chicago Fire in 2003, set the league mark with 11 goals as a rookie en route to a selection as the MLS Rookie of the Year.
“Cyle joins the list of bigtime strikers who we were fortunate enough to have at UConn,” said head coach Ray Reid. “We have been blessed to have Cyle, Damani Ralph, O’Brian White, Bobby Rhine, Darin Lewis and Mamadou Doudou Diouf just to name a few. I have no doubt that Cyle is going to finish his inaugural MLS season strong.”
Larin appeared in 39 matches for UConn during his two seasons in Storrs, totaling 52 points on 23 goals and six assists. He was tabbed the American Athletic Rookie of the Year after tallying a league-best 22 goals in 2013, and he earned Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors this past fall. His 1.31 points per game in 2014 ranked 29th among Division I players.
UConn made history in January when Larin was selected with the top pick, as Connecticut became the first school to have back-to-back top picks in the SuperDraft. Former Husky goalkeeper Andre Blake was selected No. 1 overall by the Philadelphia Union in 2014.
The Huskies open up the 2015 preseason on Aug. 11 and will play a pair of exhibition matches against Rider (Aug. 16) and Syracuse (Aug. 22) before opening the season at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium against St. Francis (N.Y.) on Aug. 28.
To keep up with the Huskies during the preseason, follow @UConnMSOC on Twitter. Fans are encouraged to use the hashtags #EveryGameMatters or #EGM for the 2015 campaign.