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Kaká Shines in Orlando City’s 4-0 Preseason Rout of Young FC Dallas Squad

The Brazilian scored a goal on a penalty and assisted on another in his 45 minutes on the pitch as the Lions rolled.

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Dave Griesbrecht, The Mane Land

DAVENPORT, FL — Kaká made his long-awaited debut in purple today and he looked good.

He and his Orlando City SC teammates ran roughshod over an FC Dallas team comprised largely of backups and trialists, winning 4-0 at the ChampionsGate Sports Complex. The highest paid player in Major League Soccer, wearing the captain’s arm band, scored on a penalty in the 33rd minute (I think…they didn’t have a visible clock and time was kept on the field), after striker Martin Paterson was pulled down in the box by…someone. We weren’t given rosters. It was No. 39 and he had long hair — that’s all I know.

Here’s that penalty:

Paterson himself got on the score sheet earlier, collecting his own rebound and scoring left-footed in the 20th minute, off a beautiful feed from Kaká, who overlapped nicely with Kevin Molino on the play. “Molino to Kaká to Paterson, GOAL!” has a nice ring to it. Hopefully we’ll hear it a lot this season.

Orlando City’s $7 million man started and played the opening 45 minutes. All the starters were replaced at the half. Kaká was all smiles after the game.

“Very good, first game,” he said. “We have a lot of things we need to improve, but as a first game it was nice, and I’m happy with it.”

Head Coach Adrian Heath said he was, in a word, “pleased” with his team’s effort, although he pointed out the opposition was a very young side that will not be what the Lions will see in the regular season. FC Dallas played without its best and brightest in the scrimmage.

“After the first 15-20 minutes, I thought we started to play some reasonable football,” Heath said. “We started to look as if we knew what we’re doing. We started getting a little bit better idea of what we can become. It was good to get ‘Ricky’ (Kaká) on the field and see where he’s going to fit in and where we think we can work with him best.”

Heath said his team was still getting to know its star player and where to look for him.

“I think the most important thing is we’ve got to get to know where he thinks it’s best for him to be operating,” said the coach. “Like he did a little bit at Sao Paulo last year, he played a bit deeper at times. One of the pleasing things today is that he dropped deep and Kevin (Molino) went and played in behind him. There were one or two nice little bits of movement between the two of them.”

Midfielder Tony Cascio, who started on the right wing, opened the scoring, just 13 minutes in, faking a defender out and dribbling past, before slotting home with his left foot.

In the second half, Danny Mwanga, the beneficiary of a turnover, made it 4-0 in the 64th minute, faking the goalkeeper to the ground and firing left footed into the empty net. Mwanga had two other nice opportunities to score, notably trying to chip the keeper on a break, but he didn’t quite get the try high enough and it was saved.

FC Dallas managed to hit the post with a header off a cross late in the second half, but otherwise didn’t get many looks at goal. Some said the player was none other than former Lion Long Tan, but I did not receive confirmation of that. Goalkeepers Donovan Ricketts and Earl Edwards Jr. had little to do today.

The most important takeaway is that Kaká got on the field, despite one nervous minute when the entire Orlando City bench audibly gasped after Kaká was fouled hard. The Brazilian seemed to have good chemistry with Molino and Paterson and that will only get better.

“The first game you always have motivation and is something special, and now every game will be better,” he said. “Every game we need to do better things. I think today we did better than the last game.”

Other takeaways from the game:

  • Molino looks like he’s been playing with Kaká for more than two weeks. The two seemed to have a good understanding where the other would be.
  • Heath paired veterans and young players in his central defender pairings. Aurelien Collin played alongside Conor Donovan on the first unit and Gustavo played next to Tommy Redding in the second half.
  • Paterson was very active in his second stint with the club, creating several chances. He scored, drew a penalty, pushed a shot just inches wide, and had another attempt saved. It was a top performance.
  • Harrison Heath played left wing in the second half and Darwin Ceren played attacking midfield. There were obviously absences. Carlos Rivas (shoulder) is banged up, Lewis Neal did not play, and we still haven’t seen Cyle Larin or Bryan Rochez. Akeil Barrett played right wing with the second group. Sidney Rivera also didn’t play.
  • Rafael Ramos was less visible today than in the 1-1 draw with D.C. United. He had trouble finding space and took out his frustrations after losing the ball with a hard challenge that drew a yellow card and could easily have been a red on another day or with another referee.

Orlando City Starters (4-2-3-1):

Goalkeeper: Donovan Ricketts.

Defenders: Luke Boden, Aurelien Collin, Conor Donovan, Rafael Ramos.

Defensive Mid: Amobi Okugo, Cristian Higuita.

Attacking Mid: Kevin Molino, Kaká, Tony Cascio.

Striker: Martin Paterson.

Goals:

Orlando City: Tony Cascio (13′), Martin Paterson (20′), Kaká (33′ – pen.), Mwanga (64′).

FC Dallas: None.

Yellow Cards:

Orlando City: Rafael Ramos (28′).

FC Dallas: (They got two, one was on No. 39. The other might have been on Danny Garcia. Yeah, it was like that out there.)

Red Cards:

None.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/12/24

Leagues Cup forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup win, USMNT U-23 loses to Japan, NWSL expansion options, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. The USMNT plays tonight in Orlando, and I hope that you have tickets. If not, we can still watch as we wait for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday. On a personal note, this Friday will mark my ninth anniversary with The Mane Land. It’s been a heck of a ride, and I’m glad you’ve been there with us. Here’s to many more years to come. Let’s get to the links.

Leagues Cup Forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup Win

Orlando City is playing in the Leagues Cup starting at the end of July and here’s a nice guide to Orlando’s group for the tournament. Of course, the Leagues Cup organizers want you to be pumped so that you watch and buy tickets. I think that is something we should do simply to support the club. However, I don’t think they went about promoting the competition in quite the right way. In a tweet that has since been deleted, the tournament’s social media team stated the Leagues Cup would be Orlando’s chance to win its first trophy. Did you catch the mistake? Taylor Twellman did.

Good on you, Taylor. Facundo Torres was indeed brilliant in that match, as was Benji Michel. Of course, there were others that caught the faux pas as well.

I think we should also be mentioning the USL Championships, but what do I know? Evidently, more than the Leagues Cup’s social media team.

USMNT to Honor Pulse Victims

There’s plenty of fake, corporate shows of support for Pride Month , but in general I think that the USMNT and USWNT have done a good job of being legitimate allies to the LGBTQIA+ community. Tonight, the USMNT will play a friendly against Brazil at Camping World Stadium on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The players will be wearing Pride jerseys to honor those who lost their lives so senselessly eight years ago.

In terms of the game, the USMNT will be without Josh Sargent for the match, and Tyler Adams will only get limited minutes if he plays, as both are coming back from injuries. Get well before the Copa America, lads.

Lions on International Duty

The United States U-23 Men’s National Team lost 2-0 to Japan in its final friendly match before the Olympics. Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire found himself on a bit of an island up top as the U.S. had difficulty moving the ball through the midfield. Hopefully, the U.S. got such play out of its system heading into the Olympics.

OCB’s Wilfredo Rivera made the most of his time playing in Puerto Rico’s World Cup qualifier against Anguilla, scoring a brace in the 8-0 victory. This win comes after a scoreless draw with El Salvador last week and Puerto Rico’s remaining group games during this round of qualifying will be next June.

Exploring NWSL Expansion Options

The NWSL will be expanding to 16 teams in 2026 with many cities vying for the next franchise. The leaders include Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis. Atlanta, Denver, and Jacksonville are potential choices as well. If it was to be given to either Atlanta or Jacksonville they would be regional rivals for the Orlando Pride. The league is expected to make a decision by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Free Kicks

  • Congratulations to the U-15 United States Women’s National Team, which won 4-0 over Germany.
  • Did you ever have one of those dreams that was a little scary, but also absolutely hilarious? This preview of Inter Miami’s new mascot is a bit like that. To misquote Jaws: “Ever seen an Inter Miami mascot’s eyes, Chief? He’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes.”
  • The Cayman Islands Men’s National Football Team forfeited its match against Cuba because many of its players are on visas in the United States. If those players were to travel to Cuba, the U.S. may have canceled those visas due to travel restrictions.
  • This is one of the most ridiculous no-calls I’ve ever seen. India got royally hosed.

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday night. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/11/24

Julie Doyle up for Goal of the Week, scouting Brazil ahead of USMNT match, Valencia fans convicted of racial abuse, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. After a brief break, Orlando City will be back in action when it takes on LAFC at home on Saturday. The Orlando Pride will visit a struggling North Carolina Courage side on the same day, while Orlando City B will have an oddly placed Thursday match against Chattanooga FC. With such a busy week ahead of us, it’s little surprise that we have a lot to talk over this morning. Let’s get into it.

Julie Doyle Up for Goal of the Week

Pride forward Julie Doyle has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week for her strike against the San Diego Wave during Friday’s 1-1 draw. Doyle opened the scoring in the 36th minute with an extremely well taken goal that came from a Barbra Banda assist. The Zambian forward made a run down the right wing and crossed for Doyle, but the ball was a little behind her and the chance looked to have gone. It hadn’t though, because Doyle contorted her body, hung out a foot, and let the momentum from the ball carry it into the back of San Diego’s net. Make sure you go vote for her to win!

Brazil Scouting Report

The United States Men’s National Team will play its final friendly before Copa America Wednesday night at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The idea of any USMNT game is slightly nauseating after the Yanks were throttled 5-1 by Colombia on Saturday, but the fact that they’ll square off against a loaded Brazil side means things aren’t going to be any easier. While Brazil has struggled early in World Cup qualifying, it will likely run out a front three of Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr., and Raphina that’s capable of causing plenty of damage. Brazil prefers to control the ball and build from the back with short passing movements, but has no qualms about ceding possession and breaking on the counter, something that caused no shortage of issues for the U.S. against Colombia.

Valencia Fans Convicted of Racial Abuse

A trio of Valencia fans will serve eight months in prison after being convicted of racially abusing Vinicius Jr. Additionally, they are barred from entering soccer stadiums for two years and will pay for court proceedings. The convictions are the first for racism in professional soccer in Spain, and a case was opened after the fans made monkey noises and gestures during a game in May of 2023. The Brazilian forward in particular has faced racial abuse during his time playing in Spain, but he’s far from the only player, as the trial for a fan accused of abusing Inaki Williams during a match in 2020 has still yet to even begin.

The Soccer Tournament Concludes

The Soccer Tournament wrapped up Monday night with a pair of engrossing championship matches. In the women’s bracket, US Women defeated the North Carolina Courage 6-3, with Talia Dellapuerta scoring the winning goal. US Women featured United States Women’s National Team greats Heather O’Reilly and Ali Kreiger, and the team won the first women’s edition of the tournament and the $1 million prize that comes with it.

On the men’s side, former Orlando City player Nani and his team, Nani FC, fell to La Bombonera, which scored mere minutes into the match and never looked back on its way to a convincing 4-0 win. La Bombonera becomes the second team to win it all following Newtown Pride FC’s victory in last year’s inaugural tournament.

Free Kicks


That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/10/24

Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo won’t play for Uruguay in Copa America, Pride and OCB draw, USMNT drilled by Colombia, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Alex Corrie

Hello, Mane Landers! I hope all is well down in Florida. I was busy at Under Armour all weekend and managing the broadcast operations for the NISA league’s matches last night. The Lions were off this weekend, but we had the Orlando Pride and OCB in action. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Torres and Araujo Not On Uruguay Squad for Copa America

Uruguay National Team manager Marcelo Bielsa confirmed his roster for the 2024 Copa America over the weekend, and Orlando City’s Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo didn’t make the final roster.

Torres and Araujo played briefly in the second half in Uruguay’s 4-0 win over Mexico in a friendly match last week. Uruguay will now prepare for its upcoming group stage matches in the Copa America against Panama, Bolivia, and the United States. Torres and Araujo will be back with Orlando City this week to get ready for their upcoming matchup against LAFC on Saturday.

Orlando Pride, San Diego Wave Play to 1-1 Draw

The Orlando Pride drew 1-1 Friday against the San Diego Wave at Snapdragon Stadium and saw their NWSL record win streak end at eight matches. Julie Doyle scored the opener for the Pride, but the Wave were able to grab an equalizer in the second half as both sides got a point. The Pride remains unbeaten this season in the NWSL. After this weekend’s results across the league, Orlando and the Kansas City Current are tied with 28 points, but Kansas City is in first on goal differential. The Pride will be on the road again this weekend to take on the North Carolina Courage Saturday.

OCB Draws at Home vs. Carolina Core FC, Snags Shootout Point

On Friday, Orlando City B drew 2-2 against Carolina Core FC at Osceola County Stadium. The Young Lions were off to a poor start early in the match, trailing 2-0 in the first half. In the second half, OCB got things back on track with goals from Alex Freeman and Imanol Almaguer to tie the match. It went to penalties after finishing tied. OCB won the extra point with a 6-5 shootout win over Carolina. That result puts the Young Lions back in the playoff hunt in seventh in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. OCB will be back in action Thursday at home against Chattanooga FC.

Colombia Dominates USMNT in Friendly Action

The U.S. Men’s National Team fell 5-1 to Colombia Saturday at FedEx Field and suffered its heaviest defeat under Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. It wasn’t good from the start as the USMNT conceded two goals in the first 19 minutes of the match in the first half. Tim Weah pulled one back for the U.S. before Colombia added three more goals towards the end of the second half to seal the win. Colombia is on a seven-match winning streak and is unbeaten in 22 matches. The last time the USMNT gave up this many goals was in the 2009 Gold Cup final in a 5-0 defeat to Mexico. The U.S. needs to improve fast with its Copa America opener less than two weeks from now. It will be a quick turnaround for the Americans as they take on Brazil Wednesday at Camping World Stadium in their final friendly match before Copa America starts.

Free Kicks

  • FC Dallas has announced the departure of Head Coach Nico Estevez. Assistant Coach Peter Luccin will lead the team on an interim basis while the club begins its search for a new head coach. FC Dallas is 13th in the Western Conference with 14 points.
  • The Chicago Red Stars broke an NWSL attendance record in their match over the weekend as 35,038 fans showed up at Wrigley Field, but the Red Stars lost 2-1 to Bay FC.
  • Wrexham co-owner Rob McElhenney is renewing his efforts to lure former Real Madrid star Gareth Bale out of retirement to join the club. He also stated that the club’s offer is still on the table.
  • In Jesse Marsch’s second match as Canada’s head coach, Canada held France to a scoreless draw in a friendly match on Sunday.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Monday and I’ll see you next time.

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