ORLANDO – Former UConn striker and 2015 SuperDraft top pick Cyle Larin made history on Friday night when he recorded a hat-trick in Orlando City’s 5-2 win over the New York Red Bulls to break the MLS rookie scoring record (14), held by former Husky standout Damani Ralph (’03).
Larin’s record-setter came in the 24th minute off a corner kick from Kaka. After the Red Bulls equalized, Larin put Orlando City back on top with a tally in the 43rd minute and finished off the hat trick with goal in the 61st minute. Larins’ 14 total scores in the 2015 season rank fifth in the league, while his 0.77 goals/90 minutes mark is good for ninth among all qualified players.
“What Cyle has done is no surprise to me,” said 19th-year UConn head coach Ray Reid. “He joins a long list of pro strikers that have played at UConn. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
The former Husky 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.
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.
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.
To keep up with the Huskies during the 2015 season, follow @UConnMSOC on Twitter. Fans are encouraged to use the hashtags #EveryGameMatters or #EGM for the 2015 campaign.