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Orlando City Training Notes: Heath, Kaká Speak; Fitness Updates

News and notes from practice at the Citrus Bowl, including injury and illness updates, international call-ups and more.

Michael Citro

Orlando City trained at the Citrus Bowl today ahead of Saturday's big match against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Missing from training were Carlos Rivas (hamstring), Cristian Higuita (groin) and Rafael Ramos (illness). Ramos was sent home early, according to Head Coach Adrian Heath for "feeling a little bit under the weather."

In Ramos's absence, Seb Hines played right back with the first team during the open portion of practice and Tyler Turner remained with the second team.

Striker Martin Paterson and goalkeeper Tally Hall worked off to the side by themselves. Hall continues to rehab from last year's torn ACL and Heath said Paterson's had no change in his availability, so he'll continue to wait for his MLS debut.

Here are your notes from today's training:

  • Regarding the recent rash of injuries/illness that's hit the team and how it affects the lineup, Heath said: "We're hoping that pretty much everybody who was available last week - obviously with (center back Aurelien) Collin coming back - will be available."
  • Heath said the Lions must be wary of Vancouver's threat without the ball. "You occasionally play teams that are more dangerous when you have the ball and this is very much one of those teams. They're very good on the counter attack. They've got a lot of threats. I think we're going to have opportunities. We have to be aware when we're attacking what we leave behind us."
  • The Orlando City coach said the club is still getting used to the Citrus Bowl's artificial surface. "Is it ideal? No," Heath said. "Everybody wants to play on grass, but it's as good as you're going to get if it's turf. It's a little bit dry, a little bit sticky. Even if we water it, it dries out very quickly, which is not ideal, at times. But it is what it is and we've got to get on with it. It's no excuses. This has been a good home for us."
  • Kaká spoke to the media and said the club wants to build on the win at Houston and the big crowd for the home opener. "The team did a great job this week so we are ready for the game. I hope our supporters can come and see another great game. We had an amazing victory away so we need to keep it up, battle and have another great win."
  • The Brazilian Designated Player said he sees no reason why Orlando can't become one of the biggest cities for soccer in the U.S. "What we had (in the Citrus Bowl) the first game was unbelievable," said Kaká." Now it's up to us to bring the supporters. If the team goes well, I think we can become a large thing here."
  • Orlando City will be in a bit of a player shortage during the upcoming international break, which will affect upcoming matches, especially the March 28 match at Montreal Impact. Cyle Larin has been recalled to the Canadian National Team for upcoming friendlies against Guatemala and Puerto Rico. Darwin Ceren and Kevin Molino are expected to miss time while with El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago, respectively, and Brek Shea is expected to be called up to the USMNT.