CHAMPIONSGATE — It was a tale of two halves, but it was the latter that spearheaded Orlando City to a win.
After a lackluster first half, Brazilian star Ricardo Kaká scored a pair of goals as Orlando City defeated Toronto FC 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at the ChampionsGate Sports Fields.
“Pleased with the performance,” Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath said. “The whole second half we were very good at times. More importantly, the attitude of the players were a lot more competitive than we were the other day, which was the pleasing thing.”
Jonathan Osorio gave Toronto the early lead six minutes into the start of the game. Servando Carrasco’s giveaway on the run of play connected with the Canadian international to strike the ball past Lions goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
The lead was short lived, however, when second-half substitute Kevin Molino found Kaká from close range to curl the ball into the net for the equalizer. Molino would help set up the second goal when he was fouled in the box in the 62nd minute, leaving Kaká to score from the spot for the eventual game-winner.
“I think we started the game really well,” said Brek Shea, who played approximately 80 minutes. “I feel really comfortable at left back. I love getting forward obviously — it’s more of my strengths — but obviously I have to do my defensive duties first, and when the opportunity presents itself, I like to get forward.”
Kaká lethal in final third
Kaká scored Orlando’s two goals, and Heath said after the game he would consider having the Brazilian star play more up the field with the start of the season being two weeks away.
“I think we need to get him higher up the field and around the danger area because he’s very, very dangerous when he’s in the box,” Heath said. “With the addition of [Antonio] Nocerino, it’s maybe something we have to look at.”
Nocerino is expected to join the Lions on Thursday before Saturday’s friendly against Brazilian side Esporte Clube Bahia at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. Kaká scored nine goals last season for Orlando while playing mostly as a center-attacking midfielder.
Orlando City SC lineups
1st-half starting XI: Joe Bendik; Shea, David Mateos, Seb Hines, Rafael Ramos; Servando Carrasco, Darwin Cerén, Richie Laryea, Kaká, Adrian Winter; Cyle Larin.
2nd-half starting XI: Joe Bendik; Shea, David Mateos, Aurélien Collin, Rafael Ramos; Servando Carrasco, Darwin Cerén, Adrian Winter, Kaká, Molino; Cyle Larin.