Oh, what a wonderful week it was to be an Orlando City Lion supporter. When the preseason schedule announcement was made, this home game against Colorado was easily a "must see" for this Mane Lander. No, I did not think it to be a good measuring stick for City. I didn't expect it to be a classic of the beautiful game. I didn't expect a sellout, or a national TV audience. I expected a drubbing.
A drubbing, I was served.
We braved the rain, lightning, thunder, sleep deprivation and a Thursday morning hangover for these three points, and the Stock Watch has taken notice of the performance that followed the Montreal debacle.
Kaká - Truth be told, the man with the armband was impressive with his aggression Wednesday night, putting four shots on target and generally orchestrating the offense in a manner that still has Clint Irwin in the fetal position, rocking back and forth as he mutters something about "pressure the ball" to nobody in particular.
The first 45 minutes weren't kind to our captain, who saved his magic for the second half, picking apart the defense with an 86.1% passing rate on 46 tries.
As he gets more comfortable with his toys on the left -- namely, Luke Boden and Carlos Rivas -- look for Kaká to show more of what we saw against Colorado, and less of what we saw against Montreal.
Cristian Higuita - Seriously, there is nothing more endearing to a fan than a young player with a short memory. After bottoming out in Montreal, Higuita was an absolute fireball on the pitch, drawing four fouls while playing keep-away with the rest of the midfield on offense, and leading the team in both tackles and interceptions on defense.
Most impressive from the young Colombian import was his efficiency on the ball, completing 90% of 71 passes, being dispossessed only once.
Luke Boden - Seriously, is Bodz an MLS All Star? Three key passes, two accurate crosses, six accurate long balls -- the man was nothing short of dynamic in this one. Realizing quickly that Brek was not himself, Bodz took over the left side of the pitch and was masterful in doing so.
If watching Boden and Rivas link up on the left side didn't make you excited about things to come, I'm not sure what will.
Adrian Heath - As it wasn't easy to find risers in the 0-2 defeat to Montreal, it isn't easy to find falling stock in a 2-0 victory. The most obvious mistake in this match wasn't made on the pitch, but rather, on the sidelines by Inchy himself.
Despite a report from the USMNT that Shea was, in fact, dealing with a groin issue, he was on the pitch, limping up and down about as fast as one and a half legs can carry you.
Inchy is our manager, and this is by no stretch an indictment of the job he's done as a whole. We look forward to a more keen eye on the injury report as the season wears on and fitness becomes all the more important.