Kaká to take new role with Orlando City

LAKE MARY — Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath spoke about the possibility of seeing team captain Ricardo Kaká play more up the field this upcoming season after a preseason friendly earlier this week.

On Friday, the Orlando City head coach confirmed that possibility is something he’s put some thought into this week as the club is less than a week away from its March 6 home-opener.

“It is something that we’ve been looking at,” said Heath on the likelihood of Kaká playing more of a goal-scoring role this upcoming Major League Soccer season.

Kaká has four goals in three preseason games, which is a feat the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year didn’t have last year during the club’s 2015 preseason.

Ricardo Kaka, Cyle Larin 1

Ricardo Kaká lines up for a a penalty kick in a friendly match against Toronto FC at the ChampionsGate Sports Fields on Feb. 21, 2016. Kaká scored two goals and the game-winner in a 2-1 victory. (Mike Gramajo / Orlando Soccer Journal)

With the arrival of Italian midfielder Antonio Nocerino expected to happen in the middle of next week, according to club president Phil Rawlins, that would give Heath the option of playing Kaká as a strike partner alongside last year’s team-leading goalscorer Cyle Larin.

But that could warrant a formation change in the team’s starting lineup in 2016, according to Heath.

“I think that most people knew the way we played last year,” Heath said. “We always tried to play a 4-2-3-1, and sometimes certainly last year with the injuries and suspensions that we had, it was difficult,” the former Everton striker said. “We did tweak [the formation] around a little bit. We went 4-3-3 and got a really good result up in Portland. We went 3-4-3 and got a result in Montreal.

“But we really just try to work on it more so that if we do want to change the shape and the system, then we’re probably a lot more comfortable this time than we were last year.”

Heath added he hopes Kaká can score in double figures in 2016 after finding the net nine times for the Lions last year.

With the formation change imminent, many Orlando soccer fans wonder if Kaká will back the change of system.

“Personally, I’ll try to play more close to the goal,” the Orlando City designated player said. “There’s the area where I think I can make a big difference. So even if I don’t touch the ball so many times during the game, I’ll wait for the last chance. It’s one thing I’ll try to change this season. I like to play there. I like to play close to the goal.”

Kevin Molino, who is back from an ACL injury, is likely to become a starter on opening day, according to Heath. With a healthy Molino back in the lineup, that could even add more goal-scoring chances for the Lions in 2016.

Molino missed a chunk of the club’s debut season last year, but recorded 20 goals during the 2014 United Soccer League season for Orlando City, a club single-season record from its minor league days.

Projected starting XI: Joe Bendik; Rafael Ramos, David Mateos, Aurélien Collin, Brek Shea; Antonio Nocerino, Darwin Cerén, Pedro Ribeiro; Kevin Molino, Cyle Larin, Ricardo Kaká (Note: This formation is projected if Orlando City SC utilizes the 4-3-3 formation.)

Follow Mike Gramajo on Twitter (@byMikeGramajo). For more, follow the OSJ on Twitter (@OSJSoccer).

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