For the past two years, I have written an article before the season trying to predict what kind of season Kaká would have in MLS play (which you can find here and here). Last year, I even did research into former high-profile Designated Players to see how they fared in their sophomore years in MLS.
This year, I will once again try, and probably fail, to accurately predict how the 34-year-old will do in 2017.
Over the last two seasons, Kaká has scored 18 goals, nine in each season. In 2015, he was more of the focal piece of the offense, with everything going through either him or Cyle Larin. In 2016, Kevin Molino had his breakout MLS year and provided another offensive spark besides Larin and Kaká, which resulted in the captain notching more assists than the previous year. It’s also worth mentioning that in 2016, Kaká had the same amount of goals and three more assists while playing in 500 fewer minutes and four fewer games.
Now as we head into 2017, which is potentially the last year that Kaká will be in an Orlando City uniform, there are two questions that we need to ask in order to guesstimate how well he will do.
First, can he stay healthy? Kaká had a bit of an issue in the beginning of the season, missing five out of the first 10 matches and another five matches the rest of the season. Head Coach Jason Kreis commented that Kaká looked “more dynamic and more able to move,” than he did last year, which is a good sign for his health. If he’s even able to play in 29 out of the 34 games this year, he can absolutely outdo himself from years prior.
Second, where will he play this season? It’s been a common trend over the last few weeks to speculate what formation Kreis will have Orlando play this year. It’s very possible that Kaká could take up his usual role as an attacking midfielder, or play more as a second striker up top with Larin. It all depends on how the team shapes out, which we’ll get a better idea of as preseason progresses.
If Kaká can stay healthy and possibly play in a more attacking role, it’s easily possible that he could surpass his previous year's numbers and score 10 or more goals.
What do you think Kaká will do this year? Let us know in the comments below.