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Orlando City midfielder Richie Laryea working for first team minutes

Richie Laryea is pretty on edge these days, and it has nothing to do with trying to secure minutes with Orlando City SC’s first team.

Most of Laryea’s professional career has been spent with Orlando City B, which elected not to partcipate in the 2018 season. The 23-year-old Canadian midfielder made 34 starts in two years with Orlando City’s second division team, but he’s always been focused on making an impact in MLS.

There’s something else on his mind as the preseason rolls on.

Laryea has been the focus of a new social media push called “Richie Cam.” It’s a fun look at the young player, originally orchestrated by star striker Dom Dwyer, but it’s got Laryea constantly looking over his shoulder.

“It’s all some fun and games that Dom and (right back) Scott (Sutter) are having right now,” Laryea said with a smile. “They’ve been catching me on anything and everything I’m doing.”

The Twitter posts catch Laryea – usually when he’s not looking – going through the day-to-day aspects of training. In one post, he immediately ducks out of the way when the camera focuses on him instead Will Johnson.

With a laugh, Laryea added, “I’m on edge, always. I’m making sure I’m not doing anything dumb that they catch on camera. I don’t want anyone to hold anything against me.”

Dwyer said “Richie Cam” has become something fun for the team. Twitter posts from Dwyer, Sutter and Orlando City SC’s official account using #RichieCam have generated hundreds of likes so far.

“Richie had a very good first day, won the [fitness] test, impressed us all,” Dwyer said. “I think the cameras were on him a little bit. It’s something that kind of caught on and we just kept it going, really.

“It’s a worldwide trend now. Obviously people all over the world doing it, I’ve heard lots of different countries. He’s getting very popular right now.”

For Laryea, the whole thing was a surprise.

“I just got into the van the second day of preseason training and Dom had his phone out, videotaping me and he called it ‘Richie Cam.’ The rest is history after that.”

Of course, there’s more on Laryea’s mind as preseason continues. The Lions have a training scrimmage Wednesday afternoon against the Philadelphia Union, and Layrea is looking for a spot in what’s become a crowded Orlando City depth chart at midfield.

The University of Akron product made 12 appearances for the first team last season and started one match. In 250 minutes of action, he tallied three shots (two on goal) and an assist.

Laryea, the seventh overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, got a serious talking-to from head coach Jason Kreis last season – something the young attacking midfielder took to heart.

“I feel like I’ve come in fit and ready for this season,” Laryea said. “I feel like I’ve done as well as I can.”

He’s doing so without striker and friend Cyle Larin, who departed for Turkish side Beşiktaş J.K. after not showing up for preseason camp.

“It happens,” he said. “He did what he had to do while he was here and now he’s not here and I have to continue without him. He’s a good friend of mine, but never was it like… him being here and I have to be here. … It was bound to happen maybe sooner or later, or never, but I’m just taking it how it is right now.”

He said there’s definitely a bit more pressure during this preseason without OCB.

“Orlando City B helped me last season to get minutes,” he said. “It’s not around this year so I’m looking mainly to get my minutes with the first team and have a real breakthrough season and show everyone what I can do.”

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