Kevin Molino’s best is yet to come

Looking past Cyle Larin’s maturation as a young footballer and Ricardo Kaká’s brilliance on the field, there stands Kevin Molino. 

Orlando City’s leading goalscorer from the USL era (33 goals) is slowly finding his groove while being patient, yet persistent, on opening his Major League Soccer goal account.

“It’s something I have to keep working on,” said Molino on scoring his first MLS goal. “You could always get better, and I feel mentally that I’m there, [but] I’m looking forward to [each] game.”

With two weeks of MLS action already in the books, the Trinidad and Tobago international has so far recorded one assist: Larin’s opening goal from last Friday’s game against the Chicago Fire.

Molino has created six scoring chances since the start of the 2016 season, four of which came last Friday, which also led to Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath commenting on his goal-scoring potential.

“He’s a good finisher,” Heath said. “We need to get him back thinking about scoring goals not just making goals… Hopefully that will come.”

Despite having an early exit from Orlando’s inaugural season in MLS last year, the attacking midfielder said he’s still working toward scoring. He added that his first touch is still there, but emphasized on getting his first goal out of the way; then everything will start to flow.

If and when Molino regains his new-look scoring form, it will certainly help with Orlando’s attacking options. Larin and Kaká, who scored 17 and nine goals respectively last year, were OCSC’s only attacking options.

With a healthy Molino now employed back into the lineup this year, there’s just one thing missing to help spearhead Orlando City’s goal of making the playoffs this year.

“I’ve been at the gym all the time, and I feel much, much stronger,” Molino said. “[I’m] mentally and physically [stronger] and ready to go, but the main thing is for us to get to the playoffs and get the results for our team.”

Yet, the chances that were created from Molino last Friday seemed very reminiscent from the USL days. As Heath alluded to, Molino’s history in the USL era was heralded as a playmaker until Orlando’s final year in USL.

After a then-record-setting 2014 campaign, in which Molino scored 20 goals in Orlando’s final season in minor-league play, Molino’s inaugural season in MLS ended too soon.

Molino, 25, said the goals will come as long as the opportunity keeps presenting itself, but until then, he’ll keep finding ways to help the team by creating goals.

“My job is to make and to score goals,” he concluded. “I’m more the of [a] team-player type. Everybody wants to score, but I’m so big on getting assists for my team, which I know should be the other way around, but I’ll do anything just to help the team get the results. That’s the most important.”

Injury report

Kaká (thigh strain): The Brazilian star is feeling a lot better, and the team will have a better idea on Tuesday on where they’ll go moving forward for Friday’s game in Yankee Stadium against New York City FC.

Carlos Rivas (ankle): The Gaffer said Rivas trained with the team during Monday’s practice, and he could be available for Friday’s game.

Bryan Róchez (thigh): Rochez trained with the team on Monday for the first time since the start of preseason, however, Friday’s game is still considered too early to bring him back into the lineup.

David Mateos (hamstring): Mateos practiced with the team, and could see time against New York City, according to Heath.

Follow Mike Gramajo on Twitter (@byMikeGramajo). For more, also follow the OSJ on Twitter (@OSJSoccer).

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