ORLANDO, Fla. (April 29, 2017) – Orlando City SC (6-1-0, 18 points) played a tight match for over an hour Saturday against the visiting Colorado Rapids (1-5-1, 4 points), but second-half substitutes Carlos Rivas and Kaká each scored their first goals of the season to secure the Lions’ fifth home win and third clean sheet of the season. The Lions have now won four straight games and all five contests at Orlando City Stadium.
The win was Orlando City’s first multi-goal win of the season. The Lions’ also improved their all-time record to 2-0-1 and 2-0-0 at home against the Rapids following their 2-0 win in Orlando in June 2015. Orlando City is off to the best start (18 points in seven games) of any team in MLS since Sporting Kansas City started out 7-0-0 in 2012. City also becomes the first club to open a new stadium with five consecutive victories.
“We’ve got a very happy locker room and a happy coaching staff. Everybody feels really good about where we sit right now. From my point of view it’s great to talk about the wins but I prefer to talk about the performance at the moment because I feel this was a game where we improved,” Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis said. “It was a difficult game with the conditions and the heat and it took us a while to get there. But at the end of the day, we’re playing some pretty good soccer and creating some good chances and it’s exciting to be a part of at the moment.”
Lions captain Kaká, who went down to injury in City’s season opener, made his grand return and gave the 25,527 supporters in attendance the performance they were hoping for. There was a tangible change in the tone of the match when Kaká and Rivas entered with half an hour left. The two Designated Players played excellent combinations, were workhorses on the press and sprung counter after counter.
Kreis inserted the playmakers in the 59th and 60th minutes and it didn’t take long for them to break the deadlock. In the 70th minute, Rivas collected a pass from fellow Colombian Cristian Higuita from 20 yards out, took a touch and launched a rocket into the side netting.
Next it was Kaká’s turn to open his Orlando City Stadium scoring account. Will Johnson, who made his 200th career MLS start and began the match with the captain’s armband but gave it to Kaká when he entered, leaped into the air to block an attempted Rapids clearance to keep the attack alive. The ball bounced perfectly into the box for Larin, who muscled through his defender and took a shot that hit the post. It bounced right in front of the empty net and Kaká knocked it in before celebrating with the supporters.
“Obviously really pleased with the performance,” Kreis said. “Both [Kaká] and Carlos [Rivas] came in and the game changed for us in a very positive direction. Pleased for both those guys’ contributions, pleased for the work they put in, pleased that [Kaká] gets to come back after he’s worked so incredibly hard to get himself fit again and make such a major statement. Coming into this game I think we’re a team that’s doing well and improving and to add a player like [Kaká] at the moment is going from strength to strength.”
Right back Scott Sutter had an exceptional performance and, along with left back Donny Toia, drew praise from Kreis for his performance. Sutter showed class and pace as he worked up the right wing and delivered several dangerous crosses into the box.
The Lions face a quick turnaround when they head to Canada to face Toronto FC on Wednesday, May 3. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at BMO Field. City then heads to Houston to take on the Dynamo on Saturday before returning to Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, May 13 to host Sporting Kansas City at 7 p.m. ET.
2’ GIles Barnes slips a ball back into the box that Antonio Nocerino directs on frame but Zac MacMath saves it off the line. Cyle Larin’s cross on the rebound rolls through the box just inches from the line.
4’ Barnes flicks the ball over the Rapids back line to Larin, who fires a volley wide of the target.
6’ Larin earns the game’s first corner kick after a nice switch from Barnes to Sutter. Will Johnson’s corner is cleared but Sutter does well to maintain possession.
12’ Sutter delivers a nice curling ball into the box for Larin but it goes just over his head.
20’ Kevin Doyle is issued a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Sutter.
27’ Sutter does well to clear the danger on a cross heading for Alan Gordon in the box.
30’ Matías Pérez García delivers an in-swinging corner kick that is cleared. Cristian Higuita works the ball to Donny Toia, whose long-range attempt is high.
31’ Some exceptional pressing from MPG on MacMath regains the Lions possession in the attacking third. Sutter lofts a ball that lands at Larin’s feet in the box but the Canadian cannot fire.
35’ Michael Azira is issued a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Higuita.
41’ Johnson’s corner delivery is headed away for another. On the second attempt, Johnson’s ball is punched away by MacMath.
45’ City plays a beautiful sequence to free Higuita for a shot. Higuita works the ball back and forth with MPG to find space from the edge of the box.
45 (+2)’ After two minutes of added time, the referee ends the first half. Orlando City 0, Colorado Rapids 0.
55’ Donny Toia plays an excellent ball up for Larin but the Rapids quickly close in and regain possession following a foul.
59’ Carlos Rivas enters the match in place of Giles Barnes. Kaká enters the match in place of Matías Pérez García. Will Johnson puts the captain’s armband on Kaká.
61’ Kaká slips a perfectly weighted ball for Rivas behind the Rapids back line but no one is home for Rivas’ cross. Sutter lofts a ball into the box that Rivas’ outstretched toe barely misses.
64’ Rivas takes a slick touch to find space on the left wing before rifling the ball to Larin to earn a corner.
66’ Rivas’ outstanding effort wins the ball after Bendik cleared. Rivas works the ball to Higuita and then to Kaká and the Brazilian’s curling shot from the edge of the area whizzes past the far post.
68’ Kaká works the ball to Sutter, who makes a little move in the box before tapping it to Johnson. Johnson turns around and lofts it to Larin on the six-yard box but MacMath makes the save.
70’ Rivas picks up a pass from Higuita, takes a touch and blasts a shot from outside the box that nearly rips a hole in the side netting.
75’ Bendik makes an easy catch on a Rapids free kick.
80’ Larin makes a smooth move around his defender and draws a foul from a sharp angle four yards from the 18-yard box.
82’ The Lions back line defends well as Colorado pushes for the equalizer. Bendik snags another Rapids cross.
85’ Luis Gil enters the match in place of Cristian Higuita.
87’ Kaká’s pressure forces Colorado to concede a corner kick. Kaka plays it short as the Lions maintain possession.
89’ Johnson dives and Sutter kneels to get in the way of a shot. The Lions clear the danger and spring the counter attack. Kaká’s through ball puts Rivas in alone with MacMath but the goalkeeper does well. Rivas earns a corner.
90 (+1)’ Johnson does well to keep the ball in the attacking third. It goes right to Larin, who muscles around and gets a shot off that knicks the post. Kaká cleans it up for the 2-0 lead.
90 (+2)’ Rivas earns a free kick after Bobby Burling clotheslines him to earn a yellow card. Johnson’s in-swinging ball goes out of bounds.
90 (+4)’ After four minutes of added time, the referee ends the match. Orlando City 2, Colorado Rapids 0.
ORL - Carlos Rivas (Cristian Higuita) 70’
ORL - Kaká 90 (+1)’
COL - Kevin Doyle (Yellow Card) 20’
COL - Michael Azira (Yellow Card) 35’
ORL - Matías Pérez García (Yellow Card) 36’
ORL - Tommy Redding (Yellow Card) 74’
COL - Bobby Burling (Yellow Card) 90 (+2)’
Orlando City SC - GK Joe Bendik, D Donny Toia, Jonathan Spector, Tommy Redding, Scott Sutter, M Antonio Nocerino, Cristian Higuita (Luis Gil 85’), Ⓒ Will Johnson, Matías Pérez García (Kaká 60’), F Cyle Larin, Giles Barnes (Carlos Rivas 59’)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Josh Saunders, D PC, José Aja, M Servando Carrasco
Colorado Rapids - GK Zac MacMath, D Eric Miller, Bobby Burling, Jared Watts, Mekeil Williams, M Michael Azira, Dillon Powers, Marlon Hairston (Dillon Serna 75’), Mohammed Saeid, Kevin Doyle (Shkelzen Gashi 79’), F Alan Gordon (Dominique Badji 58’)
Substitutes Not Used: GK John Berner, D Mike da Fonte, M Sam Hamilton
Details of the Game:
Time: 3:55 p.m. ET
Date: April 29, 2017
ORL - 55.2 %
COL - 44.8 %
ORL - 14
COL - 3
ORL - 1
COL - 4
ORL - 13
COL - 10
ORL - 8
COL - 3