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Oh Captain, My Captain: How Kaká Elevates Orlando City's Play

Would it shock you to learn that Orlando City's captain is pretty good at soccer? Well, he is. Let's look at how he did in his 2016 debut.

Kaká before a preseason friendly versus Toronto FC
Kaká before a preseason friendly versus Toronto FC
Brad Newton

Sunday night, Orlando City finally got its first look at how its captain would perform in 2016. It would be a tall order as the Lions faced the defending MLS champion Portland Timbers. But, we all remember how another defending champion fared in Orlando, don't we?

Orlando City had accrued a total of five out of a possible nine points through it's first three games. Not too bad considering how topsy-turvy the rest of MLS is at the moment and if the Lions could stay unbeaten through the first four games of the season it would be huge towards building momentum early on in the year. All this had been done without Kaká.

It's also important to consider how Orlando City fared last year at this time. Orlando had a rough go of things through April in 2015, and only scored two goals all month. Granted, they were against the very same Timbers they faced Sunday night.

Let's go ahead and take a look at a visual representation of Kaká's night against Portland.

So, let's break this down.

Kaká's night consisted of:

  • 1 goal
  • 2 assists
  • 2 shots on target
  • 3 total shots
  • Completion of 24/32 passes (75%)
He even contributed on defense with three recoveries and a defensive block of his own

Having only been stripped of the ball twice by Portland defenders, Kaká also was able to retain possession longer and create chances for Orlando City.

As for how the Brazilian directly contributed to scoring, let's see how he did.

A free kick from Orlando City's captain led to Seb Hines opening the scoring off a header and put any fears to rest as to whether Kaká still had his touch after a thigh injury. Kaká would pick up another assist off Brek Shea's goal in the 32nd minute after Brek laid off a ball toward the captain before Kaká flicked it back to Shea, who blasted his first touch into the far upper corner to put Orlando City up 2-0.

In the 48th minute, Darwin Cerén found Kevin Molino on a long ball from midfield straight into Portland's defensive third and tried to feed a pass in to Adrian Winter where maybe Nat Borchers' foot took Winter off the ball, maybe not. Either way, the ball found its way to Kaká, who was able to cut across the box and sink his shot low and sneak it in at the far post. Final result of the play represented here:

With a performance like this, it's no small wonder that you all voted him this week's Man of the Match.