So, Columbus Crew's Kei Kamara got frustrated after Federico Higuaín overruled his bid for a first career hat trick, and the striker proceeded to imply that there was no real connection on the pitch between the two teammates before going on to draw parallels between other attacking midfielders around the league and their strike partners on offense. Kamara aired the dirty laundry to reporters, saying:
"I admire [Orlando City's] Kaká and [Cyle] Larin connecting. I admire [Montreal's Ignacio] Piatti and [Didier] Drogba connecting. How many times have me and [Higuain] connected?"
So, yeah. It's cool that one of the best forwards in the league admires the perceived chemistry between two Orlando City players, and yes, Kaká and Cyle Larin do play a major role in the attack for the Lions. But, do they really play well in tandem with one another?
Larin exploded last season for 17 goals and set the MLS record for goals scored by a rookie. Larin has also scored four goals this season in eight appearances. Kaká had seven assists last season and has another two assists through four appearances in 2016. So, it stands to reason that a player with 21 career goals and another with nine assists since joining Orlando City have probably connected for the majority of the latter, right?
Well, not quite.
The number you're looking for is three. That's the number of times Kaká has assisted on Larin goals.
City's Captain would also supply the Canadian rookie for the third goal of his hat trick vs. NYCFC last July.
The final Ricky-to-Larin assist would come against the New York Red Bulls during Larin's second hat trick of the season in late September.
Kaka's contributions on Larin's fourth, ninth and 12th goals are actually bested by Carlos Rivas. Yes, that Carlos Rivas, he of four career assists, all of which have gone to Larin.
There are a few things to work through here. The first one is that Rivas played WAY fewer minutes than Kaká last year (2,439 v. 1,372). What that tells us is that Rivas has a higher efficiency rate in terms of connecting with Larin on a per-minute basis. Additionally, Rivas' natural position is on the wing. When you look at where most of the placement on Kaká's assists were for Larin, two of the three came from either the wing or a corner (which, for all intents and purposes, is a delivery from the wing).
While Kamara's comments may initially seem complimentary and envious of having an attacking partner that provides quality service to his center forward, there's also no reason to think a comment made in the heat of the moment would be well researched or thought through all too well in terms of statistical accuracy. Because when you stop to reflect on how many assists Higuaín has provided Kamara, you'll notice that they actually have one more (four) between them than Kaká and Larin's three.
Grass is always greener, I suppose.