In case you missed it, yesterday was Kaká’s birthday. While Kaká did just win our Orlando City Bracketology title as your favorite Lion of all time, I felt we should recognize his tenure with Orlando City. Let’s take a look back at some of the former captain’s greatest moments during his time with the Lions.
Orlando City’s First MLS Match
On March 8, 2015, Orlando City played the club’s first Major League Soccer match at the Citrus Bowl. It was a sellout crowd thanks to the “Fill the Bowl” campaign, and the opponent was fellow MLS expansion club New York City FC. Despite out-shooting the Pigeons, the Lions were down 1-0 after a 76th-minute goal from Mix Diskerud. Time was slipping away from Orlando when Ned Grabavoy fouled Kevin Molino in the 90th minute to set up a free kick for the Lions in stoppage time. There was no doubt who would be taking the kick as Kaká lined up his shot outside the box. The shot deflected off the wall and into the goal, salvaging a 1-1 draw on that historic day for the club and the supporters, and putting Kaká into the record books with Orlando City’s first MLS goal.
Honoring Kevin Molino
On May 17, 2015, Orlando City earned the club’s first home victory in MLS with an utterly dominating 4-0 win over the defending champion L.A. Galaxy. The Lions were already up in the 56th minute thanks to goals from Eric Avila and Cyle Larin. Kaká provided the assist on Larin’s 34th-minute goal. In the 54th minute, Galaxy keeper Jaime Penedo fouled Kaká in the box to give Orlando City a penalty kick. Needless to say, Kaká buried it and gave Orlando City a three-goal lead in the 56th minute. However, it wasn’t the goal that was so special. It was what Kaká did following the goal that mattered.
Only two weeks prior, Molino had sustained a season-ending injury when he tore his ACL in a friendly versus Ponte Preta. Kaká earned a yellow card for putting on Molino’s No. 18 jersey, but he showed that even one of the biggest stars in MLS can show respect to a teammate.
Golazo versus Atlanta United
We’re all too familiar with Orlando City’s struggles with Atlanta United. However, on July 29, 2017, Kaká ensured that the Lions at least earned a point against that northern club. Shortly before halftime, Joe Bendik sent a long goal kick down the center of the field. Larin deftly brought the ball down and squared it out to Kaká, who buried a banger past Brad Guzan from distance to give the Lions a 1-0 lead in the 40th minute.
Héctor Villalba stole a point back for Atlanta in stoppage time, but that goal from Kaká was still a stunner.
Those are my picks for three of the best moments from the all-time favorite Lion. Vote for your favorite or write in your own in the comments below.
What is your favorite Kaká moment?
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Stoppage time goal in the Lions’ first MLS match
Honoring Kevin Molino
Golazo against Atlanta
Something else (tell us below)