Orlando City Copa America Player Grades: Kaka

RICARDO KAKA

Attacking Midfield, Brazil

B

There are no ways around it. When Orlando City’s maestro, Ricardo Kaka, has played this season, he’s been nothing short of spectacular. The only problem has been making sure he’s match-fit.

Kaka missed the first 3 matches of the season when he picked up an injury right before the Lion’s first game against Real Salt Lake. Then he missed 2 matches in mid-April against the New England Revolution and New York Red Bulls with another injury. He missed his 6th match of the season in late May when he got the surprise call up to play for Brazil’s Copa America team, but unfortunately was injured in training camp and couldn’t represent his country in the June tournament.

Even though he’s only featured in 7 matches so far for Orlando City, he’s managed to score 2 goals and assist on a team high 5 goals.

Most Forgettable Performance:

Kaka hardly ever puts in a bad shift for Orlando City, but his most forgettable match definitely coincides with the worst Lion’s performance of the season, the May 15th match against Sporting Kansas City.

In the game, a 1-2 loss, Orlando City got out shot 34-7 and never really seemed to have chance against the 2013 MLS Cup champions. The Lion’s only goal came on an own goal from Sporting defender Jimmy Medranda.

Kaka made only 1 key pass in the match, his lowest output of the season. In his other 6 appearances this year, he’s averaged 3.50 key passes per game.

Most Memorable Performance:

This was not the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. Kaka’s most memorable performance this season is definitely his first appearance of the year, when he helped Orlando City rout the defending MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers 4-1.

Kaka got his assist count off 0 just 13 minutes into his season, when he lofted a free kick for Seb Hines to nod home from the penalty spot.

He was just getting started.

In the 32nd minute, he played a clever one-two with left-back, Brek Shea, and released the American international in on goal. Shea responded by smashing in a volley from the corner of the penalty box to the top right corner of Adam Kwarasey’s goal. It was Shea’s first goal for Orlando City and what a beautiful goal it was.

Kaka sealed the Lion’s second consecutive victory just 3 minutes into the second half, when Kevin Molino squared a pass across the box where Adrian Winter fought off Nat Borchers to let the ball trickle through to Kaka, who kept his composure to smash a low shot past the sprawling keeper.

In the 76th minute Kaka, the presumptive penalty taker, had a chance to claim another goal from the penalty spot when Diego Chara brought down Molino in the box. But what did the Orlando City captain do? Like the true leader he is, he picked up the ball and handed it to Molino, showing the then goalless player that he had confidence in him. The Trinidad and Tobago international stepped up and made no mistake with his spot kick, smashing it low and to the left of goal to claim his first MLS goal.

How has Molino responded to that show of faith in him? Oh just by scoring 5 goals and assisting on 2 more in his next 8 appearances.

 

All statistics quoted are taken from https://www.whoscored.com/

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