The Canadian men’s national soccer team received a reinforcement today in the form of Cyle Larin. The Orlando City striker was called into camp today as one of the six replacements Canada is allowed to make after the Gold Cup group stage.
Larin was the only change Canada made, replacing Toronto FC’s Raheem Edwards who did not appear during the tournament. Larin has scored five goals for Canada and is widely considered to be one of the team’s most promising players.
He was left off Canada’s group stage roster after a DUI arrest in mid-June. The 22-year-old has since completed Major League Soccer’s Substance Abuse and Behavioural Health program and has been cleared for competition. He played 90 minutes against Toronto FC on July 6.
While Larin has had plenty of success at the MLS level, scoring 39 goals in 76 matches and being named the 2015 MLS Rookie of the Year, it hasn’t really translated to the international stage. But with his teammates playing rejuvenated soccer under new coach Octavio Zambrano, this is a chance for Larin to step in and contribute.
Seeing as he could be such an important piece of this team going forward, it was worth taking a bit of a risk to re-introduce him into the squad. One player isn’t going to throw off chemistry that heavily, and Larin’s qualities give Canada yet another attacking threat.
He will join his teammates in Glendale, Arizona, where they will play the runner-up from Group C, which will be determined tonight. This is Canada’s first appearance in a Gold Cup quarter-final since 2009.
From a Toronto FC fan perspective, seeing Edwards leave camp is disappointing. The 21-year-old was one of only two outfield players, the other being Adam Straith, to not see the field so far this tournament.
However, seeing as he wasn’t going to start for Canada it is a positive that he was returned to TFC. The club could certainly use some help in the wing-back position, where they have been short staffed of late. Edwards’ time with Canada will come.