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Deflected Kaka free kick rescues point for Orlando City in draw with NYCFC

Orlando City celebration 43

photo by Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports


ORLANDO, Fla. — New York City FC looked to spoil Orlando City’s special day, but it was Kaka that came to the rescue with some late-game heroics.

Kaka salvaged a 1-1 draw for Orlando City on Sunday, scoring on a deflected free kick in the 91st minute of the club’s meeting with fellow expansion club New York City FC. Mix Diskerud opened up the scoring at the sold-out Citrus Bowl 15 minutes earlier, but Kaka’s late free kick smashed off of defender Jeb Brovsky before rolling into the back of the net.

The goal sent the 62,510 fans in attendance into a frenze and helped Orlando overcome the loss centerback Aurelien Collin, who was sent off in the 84th minute for a harsh foul on David Villa.

“I didn’t want the day to end on a sour note,” said Orlando City coach Adrian Heath. “Whether we have won, lost or draw today, I think both coachess would of said it’s still a long way from where want to be. I think that’s pretty evident. We got a lot more to give, this team is gonna get better, but it’s still in the early days”

Orlando City took 15 shots in the match, and was the better side from the run of play for much of the match. Heath’s men dominated possession throughout the game, and had several scoring opportunities that were thwarted by alert NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders.

Lions midfielder Kevin Molino, who dominated the USL in scoring in 2014, impressed in his MLS debut and almost put Orlando City on the scoreboard in the 38th minute. The Trinidad & Tobago international set up Kaka for a shot outside the 18-yard line, but it was saved by Saunders. 

“It’s still a work in progress,” added Heath. “We did some really good stuff in the first half. Second half I thought we were a bit disjointed at times, and it’s stuff that we can work on.” 

Orlando City’s back line had difficulties at times, especially when it came to clearing the ball. Cristian Higuita’s 56th-minute giveaway to Adam Nemec almost provided a scoring opportunity for NYCFC, but Nemec sent his shot wide of the post. 

“We entered the second half with a different attitude,” said Villa. “We would of liked to have more on the attacking side. It’s a shame we didn’t get the three points, but we did a good job.” 

One Orlando City lineup to change that came to a surprise was the exclusion of Bryan Rochez. Heath opted to place Rivas in the lone striker role. When asked what was behind the decision to place Rivas up top, Heath told reporters that Rivas’ speed was a factor on why he chose to go with the former Deportivo Cali forward. 

Orlando City will now shift its focus to Friday, when the club travels to BBVA Compass Stadium to take on the Houston Dynamo. With Collin missing the game because of suspension, Heath confirmed to reporters that Sean St. Ledger will get the nod at centerback in that game.


  1. …and people still continue to contend the Cosmos couldn’t play in MLS. If you still think that after that spectacle yesterday, you weren’t watching. Props to Kaka – he was clearly on a different level.

    • Well they could play in MLS, they just wouldn’t win many games. But when your team is basically chock full of MLS rejects and a couple of geriatric has-beens, that shouldn’t be a surprise.

  2. Agree with CSD. Collin is a thug. Thug with KC and now a thug with Orlando. If my memory is correct Collin was quoted about a week or so ago, saying something about Villa…”well..he’s good, shifty..i’ll just have to play him real physical”. Translation: Villa’s far better than me, so i’ll just have to kick him a lot.

    The tackle he put on Villa was pretty nasty.

  3. Overall not so bad. Would have been better on grass but what can you do. Kaka is incredible. So elegant and enjoyable to watch, like he always was. He alone will make fans of Orlando and MLS. I think that Shea is going to win outright the left back position this year for US, he seems really solid.

    Thanks Eurosport. Previous years I would have been watching the Lyon Montpellier game. For info, if anyone is curious, Eurosport france opened with a half hour special from Orlando with game day interviews Kaka, Villa, the coaches and a few other players. It was original material. The production value could improve (though it will unfortunately never match its competitors who have over 10 HD cameras, use big teams of analysts tracking player movement, their speed of runs etc., and basically spend all day and night talking about the game). But there is effort, two announcers (rare MLS matches on tv here in the past only had one) who know the league, and had seen all the other weekend fixtures.

    It is fun to watch the league grow. Being able to catch a match on tv outside of North America is huge.

  4. entertaining.. glad we got the goals this game deserved. Orlando is a solid home. I’ll be glad when the grass field is in play.

      • found it (command+F), and wow, very surprising that the article’s author would make that mistake haha. somewhere an editor is getting an earful, lol

    • what about wouldof’ve? Also, that announcer dude for ESPN who retired from mls on account of concussions said that the next two games for Orlando are also expecting huge crowds with strong ticket sales. Are we talking 50k? Furthermore, I saw part of SKY sports’ coverage. That was real nice, and I bet the ratings were strong

  5. Rarely does a ref stand out in a good way but great game for him. All of the embellishment yc’s and the Colin rc really sent a good message.

    Other than that these two and all of the other teams I have seen have been quality. Looking forward to seeing these teams in midseason form.

    • The embellishment yellow cards were all wrong. None were full dives just perhaps soft fouls. If u want to see embellishment go watch La Liga….. The only correct call was the red although even that was debatably just a yellow.

      • Look up the association football definition of diving. Exaggerating contact in order to gain an advantage is considered a dive.

        These terms “full dive” and “soft foul” are made up.

      • He was consistent and didn’t back off it.

        They were looking for home-cooking fouls and got the opposite, and the ref stuck to his guns all the way through…even red-carded Colin. Definitely not the approach I would have expected given the crowd and context but it’s hard to argue with the ref’s cajones…you get those wrong, on national TV, in front of 62,000+ watching both teams’ inaugural games…well, you got some ‘splaining to do.

        He called it how he saw it, and definitely did not allow himself to be influenced. Most people claim that’s what they really want out of the ref.

      • As long as we are being pedantic on here, I would like to mention that “cajones” means big box.I doubt the ref has a big box, or a box to begin with. The word is “cojones”.

      • At least one of those call was flat out wrong, probably 2. Brovsky should have been sent off on 2 yellows.

      • +1

        and to CroCajun, i’m fully aware i made up the terms…… never claimed them to be definitions, more so just contextual adjectives….. relax wierdo. my main point was that those “dives” weren’t dives. I’ve seen waaaaaayyyyy worse theatrics where there was no contact and a player went down. in each of the 3 today, the player went down with contact albeit minimal. in the first one, more particularly, Shea had lost his balance and the contact only ensured he fell, he was already falling, not diving, when the slight contact was made.

  6. Kaká is a beast. He’s gonna be an MVP candidate by the end of the year. Also I’m happy Brek is back. Gonna be fun team to watch.

    • Concur the Shea and Kaka play was fun to watch. Kaka looks like a great piece to build a team around, very inspirational and positive captain also. Collin is the one player on that team not fun to watch. He is a hack that should have been thrown out of just about every game I have seen him play in. Hopefully someone else will emerge in his absence and he won’t see the field again this season.

      • Not sure yet what to make of either squad. They had some clunky moments but they did not look like expansion squads. If they play like they look today I wonder if both will make the playoffs. Be much more interesting to see how they look over 36 games but both squads look at first blush very well-developed for their first game outta the box.

        Mix is who I thought he was – people were saying “he played in a worse league than MLS”…well, maybe, but he’s durn good and he showed it today. Definite MLS All-Star if he keeps it up.

        Kaka is just a beautiful player, still. Glides around, shockingly fast, every touch is beautiful. Remains to be seen if he can stay healthy – his big bugaboo of late – but if he can he’s MLS’s new Thierry Henry.

        Orlando dominated early, then NYCF switched it up some and really took over the game. 1-1 was a fair result, though it was odd the way it came about. Shea was a constant force running up the flank though he’s gotta stop running up Kaka’s butt when Kaka takes his space…if Kaka is kicking outside, Brek, bend your run into the space Kaka just vacated. If they get that right it’ll be very tough to stop.

        Still leaves you wondering if Orlando needs their new stadium, or if they just need to take up permanent residence at the Citrus Bowl. If they can fill a 62,000-seat stadium to beyond capacity, why move? They’re looking like another Seattle.

        How many huge crowds is MLS going to have to draw before somebody ponies up big for their TV rights? I suspect the next TV deal is going to make this one look…paltry.

      • People going to the game and people watching the game on tv are different metrics. I think the biggest thing with this round of the tv contract is keeping the games on the same night every week of the season. Sunday night soccer every week will hopefully help to build a consistent tv base,

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