Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath has several talented options to play in his attacking midfield trio, and we've seen the gaffer roll out some different attacking combinations throughout this 2016 season. With Kaká -- when healthy -- acting as the cornerstone at the No. 10 spot, Heath can deploy any arrangement of Kevin Molino, Adrian Winter, Carlos Rivas, Brek Shea and even Júlio Baptista to complement the captain in the middle of the park.
In Saturday night's 3-2 win over Toronto, we saw Heath play what has become his most formidable wing pairing in Molino and Winter, and the two were excellent in their roles supplementing Ricky and adding effectiveness to the Lions' attack. One key to their effectiveness against the Reds, as MLSsoccer.com's Matthew Doyle noted earlier this week, was that Molino and Winter played wide and allowed Kaká adequate space in the center to pull strings offensively, which resulted in a better offensive showing for Orlando.
Neither player got caught playing too narrow in the attack and Kaká, as a former FIFA World Player of the Year, took advantage and made life difficult for the Michael Bradley-less Reds. Ricky made some memorable runs through the midfield to get the offensive gears moving for City and, in addition to converting the game-winning spot kick, was inches away from an assist when his key pass was banged off the crossbar by Cyle Larin from about 20 yards out in the 38th minute. Kaká and Winter's heat maps illustrate their interplay, with the Brazilian -- as he's wont to do -- drifting out to the left flank and Winter sliding into the middle at times.
But it wasn't just allowing the captain room to work -- Molino and Winter caused havoc of their own, more so than Kaká on the night.
Molino, who is growing into the player many believed he could be at the MLS level this season with six goals and five assists, registered two of those dimes against TFC as part of four key passes and an 85% passing success rate. Winter recorded three key passes of his own and had a hockey assist on Molino's first service to Larin, and also scored the go-ahead goal late off Molino's second assist. The pair combined for five shots overall on 119 touches, and turned in an incisive 82.5% passing clip.
Three of City's four wins on the season have come with Molino and Winter starting together in the midfield, and this most recent showing with the newly healthy Kaká seems like more than enough reason for Heath to continue to roll out this trio behind Larin in the attack moving forward. Winter's tireless work rate and energy have proven very important this season, and as mentioned above, "The Original" Molino appears to be coming into his own after an injury-shortened season in '15. While Rivas and Shea have made some plays on the left wing at times, the explosive Rivas can be an effective sub against tired defenders and Shea's primary role within this side is still at the fullback spot.
A lack of creative help for Kaká and finishing in the final third to supplement Larin have hampered the Orlando City attack in the past, but the play of Molino and Winter on the wings has things looking up for the Lions at the moment. Do you agree that this is Heath's best duo to border Kaká in the attacking midfield?