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Kaká Goes Out Wide, Plays an Effective Role for Orlando City

Jason Kreis moved Kaká out wide against Chicago and it yielded some impressive results for Orlando City.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s 2-2 draw against the Chicago Fire was another disappointing result on the road for Orlando City, which is now winless in its last 10 road contests.

In Jason Kreis’ third match in charge of Orlando, the Lions fell behind early, but fought back with a pair of unanswered goals in the first half before letting that lead slip in the second half, settling for their 12th draw of the season.

One of the most notable takeaways from the match was a tactical decision made by Kreis to deploy Kaká primarily on the left wing throughout the match, giving Matias Perez Garcia more space to create in the middle of the park.

Keep in mind this is not a rare occurrence, either, as we’ve seen Kaká spend time on the left here and there under former Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath in certain matches. While it’s typically been the case that the Brazilian captain is more important to the Lions when he’s playing in the middle, Kaká has shown to be an effective winger and can still be a dangerous asset when he’s flying down the wings.

Take a look at the captain’s passing chart for the afternoon:

As you can see, pushing him out wide didn’t mean he was any less involved in the Lions’ attack. According to WhoScored.com, 47% of Orlando City’s attacking runs went through Kaká and down that left side, which put the Brazilian in numerous positions to create from the wing into more open spaces through the middle of the field. Cyle Larin also did a good job throughout the match at opening those spaces and making well-timed runs for Kaká to find him.

Kaká doesn’t always have to play the No. 10 role to be effective for Orlando City as long as the right personnel are implemented in the middle of the field. The Lions finally have that with Perez Garcia and healthy depth on the wings to fill the right side.

And, like I said, we’ve seen Kaká play this more wide position before, but never at a full game rate like he did against Chicago. But what we’ve also seen from those instances is that he’s still got the legs to beat defenders one-on-one, which, for a 34-year-old, is pretty impressive.

Example: Kaká making Eric Gehrig look silly to set up this near-scoring opportunity in the second half.

Yup, he’s still got it.

The Lions’ biggest issue remains their defense, but if Kreis is looking at ways to improve the offense moving forward, he might have found an effective way to do that without drastically changing the personnel or formation, at least until we finally see the change to the 4-4-2 diamond formation, which is likely coming at some point down the road.