Larin ready to in­ject some pos­i­tive news

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - GAVIN DAY GLENDALE, ARIZ. —

Af­ter mak­ing head­lines for all the wrong rea­sons, Cana­dian soc­cer star Cyle Larin is hop­ing his re­turn to the Cana­dian na­tional soc­cer team will lead to some pos­i­tive news. Larin trained for the first time with Canada on Mon­day af­ter be­ing added to the Cana­dian ros­ter in ad­vance of Thurs­day’s Gold Cup quar­ter-fi­nal against Ja­maica at the Uni­ver­sity of Phoenix Sta­dium. Canada could make up to six ros­ter changes af­ter fin­ish­ing sec­ond in Group A be­hind Costa Rica but only brought in Larin to the 23-man squad, send­ing Ra­heem Ed­wards back to Toronto FC. “Ob­vi­ously, I want to play,” Larin told The Cana­dian Press at the team’s ho­tel on Tues­day af­ter­noon. “My goal is to play and it’s to score goals and help the team win. I just have to come in here and work hard to get that po­si­tion and to go on the field and score. “I think the guys have done very well to­gether. I just think I can bring a dif­fer­ent piece and help the team by scor­ing goals.” Larin played for Canada in a friendly against Cu­ra­cao last month but got into trou­ble upon his re­turn to Or­lando, where he plays for the city’s Ma­jor League Soc­cer club. Larin was ar­rested af­ter driv­ing the wrong way on an Or­lando street and was given a mis­de­meanour DUI al­co­hol or drugs charge af­ter he failed a so­bri­ety test. Larin was then left off the Cana­dian ros­ter for the group stage and also missed some time with Or­lando City SC to un­dergo MLS’ Sub­stance Abuse and Be­havioural Health Pro­gram. The le­gal mat­ters are still to be sorted out. But for now the fo­cus is the Gold Cup, ands Larin adds to a team that ad­vanced that from a group in­clud­ing Costa Rica, Hon­duras and Gold Cup new­com­ers French Guiana. “Ev­ery­thing that needed to be said has been said,” said head coach Oc­tavio Zam­brano. “I’ve had my con­ver­sa­tions with him when this thing hap­pened. I think all of that doesn’t fac­tor in any­more, for us. Life goes on and we need to show him that he is very much a part of this team and hope­fully he can help us.” Canada takes on Ja­maica, which fin­ished in sec­ond place in Group B. The Ja­maicans played pow­er­house Mex­ico to a score­less draw in group play. But Ja­maica is also a team that needed penal­ties to beat French Guiana and then lost to Cu­ra­cao in the Caribbean Cup a few months ago. “Their un­pre­dictabil­ity is dif­fi­cult for any team be­cause you are in­evitably faced with a sit­u­a­tion that any­thing can hap­pen at any mo­ment,” said Zam­brano. “A lot what hap­pens for them is in­di­vid­u­als that can do stuff to change a game so we need to counter that with stick­ing to our own strengths and not veer­ing to far from what we have done well. “We have some co­he­sive­ness that we are go­ing to need to put into use in this match.” With tem­per­a­tures in the strato­sphere in Ari­zona, Canada has been train­ing in the evenings but the heat won’t be a fac­tor on Thurs­day. The op­u­lent sta­dium, home of the NFL’s Ari­zona Car­di­nals, fea­tures a re­tractable roof that will likely be closed with the game tak­ing place in cli­mate­con­trolled com­fort. This is the first-time Canada’s reached this stage of the bi­en­nial tour­na­ment since 2009. It hasn’t reached the semi-fi­nals since the 2007 tour­na­ment when it was elim­i­nated by the United States. Canada won the Gold Cup in 2000.

OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL FILE PHOTO

Cyle Larin, right, will re­turn to Canada’s lineup to play Ja­maica on Thurs­day night.

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