Kaka made his 2016 MLS debut on Sunday, and Orlando City fans in attendance would probably agree it was worth the way to see the Brazilian star in action again.
Kaka scored a goal and registered two assists to help lead Orlando City to a 4-1 romp over the Portland Timbers, a victory that moved Orlando City into first place in the Eastern Conference.
Seb Hines opened the scoring with a 13th-minute header off a Kaka free kick, then Brek Shea made it 2-0 with a stunning left-footed shot off a give-and-go with Kaka.
The Timbers looked like they might pull to within a goal just before halftime, but Joe Bendik saved a Fanendo Adi penalty kick to keep it 2-0.
Kaka scored his first goal of the season just three minutes into the second half off a Kevin Molino pass to essentially put the match out of reach at 3-0. Molino scored his first career MLS goal from the penalty spot after drawing the kick off a foul by Diego Chara.
Jack McInerney scored a consolation goal for the Timbers in the 89th minute, but that provided little solace for the visitors, who have managed just one win in four matches this season.
Orlando City will look to hold on to first place in the East when the Lions travel north to face the Philadelphia Union at Talon Energy Stadium on Friday. The Timbers will look to rebound with a win on the road against the LA Galaxy on Sunday.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Brazilian star Kaka had a hand in three of Orlando City’s four goals, causing problems for the normally dominant Timbers midfield.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Brek Shea’s curling left-footed shot, which came shortly after a nifty give-and-go with Kaka, not only gave Orlando City a two-goal cushion, it should also be MLS Goal of the Week.
MATCH TO FORGET
Diego Chara is normally as reliable a midfielder as there is in MLS, but on Sunday he was found chasing Kaka in vein, forced to watch him set up Shea’s goal, and score his own. Chara’s poor showing was capped by giving up the penalty that Molino converted to make the score 4-0.