The beginning of a new week means that it’s time to look back at the week that was.
‘Canadian of the Week’ of course highlights the best of the best from the Canadian soccer sphere. This week’s winner is no stranger to being featured. Scoring goals for fun in a top-five league gets you noticed around here.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man!
Real Valladolid have been in desperate need of points as they fight to stave off relegation from Spain’s top flight. Cyle Larin has done his part since joining the club, and the Canadian forward was again his team’s hero on Tuesday, May 23, netting a penalty and providing an assist during a massive 3-1 win over FC Barcelona.
After giving the visiting champions a guard of honour, Valladolid were handed a gift in the second minute after Barcelona defender Andreas Christensen accidentally headed in an own goal. Twenty minutes later, Larin converted from 12 yards out to double the lead for the home side, giving him eight league goals since joining from Club Brugge in January.
Larin wasn’t done there though. In the 73rd minute, Larin would ice the game by putting the ball on a silver platter for Gonzalo Plata, with the Ecuadorian winger making it 3-0.
Barca would get one back but it was too little too late for the Catalonians as Valladolid held on to the result.
With one match remaining the task is simple for Larin and his teammates. Sitting in 18th, three points against 14th-placed Getafe on matchday 38 would guarantee their place in La Liga for 2023-24. A draw could be enough, but a loss would send them tumbling into the second division.
Even though Larin has enjoyed tremendous individual success in recent months, the striker is focused foremost on helping his club stay up, something he’s never had to go through before.
“I’ve come here to score goals and to start playing again,” he said during a recent press conference.
“I wasn’t playing at my old club. I came here and I’m very happy. I’m happy that I scored goals and I’ve done that. My last goal is to help the team stay up. For me, it’s always about the team first and everything else will come after.”
Only time will tell if Valladolid are able to survive the drop, but what’s already certain is that Larin can be proud of his efforts since moving to Spain.
CF Montréal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois was named to the MLS Team of the Matchday for his performance between the sticks last Saturday in his side’s 1-0 victory over Inter Miami. Sirois made five saves to keep a clean sheet for his hometown club as he continues to serve as a starter even with James Pantemis back to full fitness. Montreal’s shot-stopper picked up a nifty club record along with the win on Saturday, going 363 minutes without conceding at home.
Clarissa Larisey is beginning to pick up steam with Swedish side BK Häcken. The 23-year-old forward scored her second goal in as many games on Friday, May 26 during a 3-0 victory away to Piteå. The Ottawa native hustled in second-half stoppage time to score her team’s final goal of the day, breaking past two defenders and putting the ball into the net with an exquisite finish using the outside of her boot. Larisey now has three goals and an assist through 10 matches for the league leaders. She could be a difference maker off the bench at the upcoming World Cup for a Canada team that will be without the likes of Janine Beckie and possibly Nichelle Prince.
Scoring goals. It’s what he does.
Jonathan David added two more spot-kick scores to his impressive Ligue 1 tally on Saturday, netting both of Lille’s goals in a 2-1 win against FC Nantes. David has been close to perfect from 12 yards out this season. The striker has converted 10 penalties in the league and has only missed once. To put that into perspective, no other player in the top five leagues has scored more than seven penalties. I guess that’s why they call him the Iceman.