Happy Thursday! I'm back in Florida after an eight-day stay in New York, which included a trip to Yankee Stadium to watch New York City FC defeat Orlando City 5-3 in an disappointing, yet exciting, game in the Bronx. The weather was great up there, and I already miss it, but I'm back in Florida, home of Orlando City.
Enough about me, let's take a dive into the odds and ends you might have missed on Wednesday.
MLS All-Stars defeat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1
Orlando City captain Kaká scored a goal from the penalty spot and assisted on a David Villa tally minutes later, leading the MLS All-Stars to a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in Colorado Wednesday night. Figuring in both MLS goals, Kaká was the obvious choice for MLS All-Star Game MVP. The MLS All-Star captain in his first season in Major League Soccer, Kaká made the most of his first time in the league's mid-season showcase. After a Tottenham handball in the penalty area, the Brazilian buried the perfect spot kick into the side netting to put the All-Stars ahead 1-0. Three minutes later, he ran onto a Clint Dempsey pass and drilled a ball across the box for David Villa to deflect into the far corner to put the All-Stars ahead 2-0. Harry Kane pulled one back with a strike from about 20 yards out but neither team found the net in the second half.
The All-Star Game is kind of a weird thing -- just an exhibition in the middle of heated MLS playoff races tucked into an already crowded fixture schedule. But this year's showcase was good to Orlando. In addition to Kaká ruling the day on Wednesday, defender Tyler Turner put in a solid shift Tuesday night in the Chipotle (Mmmmm....Chipotle) Homegrown Game. Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel wrote a great piece about Tyler's experience.
The Most Important Player In MLS Since David Beckham?
Kaká has meant a lot to Orlando City on and off the field this season. On the field, he's been one of the team's best players, helping keep the Lions right in the middle of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. Off of it, he's been a quiet superstar, spending time with fans, putting in the interviews, and acting like the world-class athlete he is. Simon Veness wrote another great piece, here, which is worth a read.
Lions Ready For Paterson To Make An Impact
'Frustrating' might be the right word to describe Martin Paterson's first season in Orlando. The Northern Ireland striker has watched a majority of the Lions' inaugural MLS season from the sidelines with injuries consistently knocking him back down when he gets up. Paterson is finally healthy -- again -- and Adrian Heath is ready to see what he can do for his squad final the final stretch of the season.
The Birth of MLS: 20 Years of a Growing League
Major League Soccer has come a long way in the past 20 years. The guys from Sports Illustrated put together a great long-form article on the birth of MLS, including crappy team names, crazy rules, and everything else in between. Go ahead and take a look.
Do Not Call Out Jose Mourinho
Rafael Benítez is the new manager at Real Madrid, where Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho used to put in his work. Mourinho hasn't been at Madrid for a couple of years, but Benítez's wife felt the need to take some shots. So "The Chosen One" decided to fat-shame Benítez.
"The lady is a bit confused, with all respect. The only club where her husband [directly] replaced me was at Inter Milan, where in six months he destroyed the best team in Europe at the time.
"And for her to think about me and to speak about me, I think she needs to occupy her time — and if she takes care of her husband's diet, she will have less time to speak about me."
What did we learn today, kids? Don't ever talk trash about Jose Mourinho. He will make you feel bad about yourself.