While superstars Cyle Larin and Kaka grab the spotlight, it may be Kevin Molino who will most determine Orlando City’s finish this season.
When you talk about Orlando City SC, you first bring up either young megastar Cyle Larin, or global legend Kaka, rightfully so. Larin leads the club in goals this season with 12, and Kaka leads in assists with 8. But right below both players on those lists is the same man, Kevin Molino. Unlike both those players, he did not come on board since the team became an MLS side in 2015.
Kevin Molino has been with Orlando City for five years now. Joining the club in 2011, he was a stud when the team competed in the USL. In 2014, he set what was then the single season record for goals in a season with 20, and won the league’s Most Valuable Player.
Despite interest from some European sides, as much as a couple of week long trials, Molino stayed with Orlando City as they moved up to Major League Soccer. He started seven games, before tearing his ACL in an early May friendly, ending his 2015 campaign without a goal.
This season, the 26-year-old Trinidadian has shown why he is a fan favorite, and possibly the biggest piece Orlando City needs at their best for playoff success. He currently sits with nine goals and seven assists.
To showcase how big of an impact it is when he’s playing well, in the 12 games he’s scored or assisted, the club has only lost once. He’ll likely never be the banner player for Orlando City again, stuck behind Larin and Kaka, but Molino in good form may be their biggest component at a playoff run in 2016.
They face Colorado Rapids this weekend, a matchup against a tough, physical team that also has Tim Howard in goal. With the Rapids defense likely zeroing in on stopping the Larin-Kaka tandem, Kevin Molino may find himself in some good positions to try to take down the second best in the West.