June 24, 2015 vs. Colorado Rapids - Orlando City’s first-ever game against Colorado was a smashing success for the Lions, who saw off the Rapids 2-0 behind second half goals in quick succession from Cyle Larin and Kaká. The win was Orlando’s third in four games. Kaká had hit the post earlier in the match, but when set up by Cristian Higuita in the 65th minute, he made his second opportunity count:
MLS’ website describes the finish as “classy.” Hard to disagree!
June 25, 2016 vs. Toronto FC - It was a banner week for Kaká, as he capped off one of the most thrilling games in club history this week in 2016. Larin had put Orlando on the board early, but the stubborn Reds–who would go on to appear in the MLS Cup Final that December–refused to go down, with Jordan Hamilton answering in the 47th minute. When Adrian Winter looked to have the match won in the 83rd minute, Toronto again equalized, with then-reigning MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco setting up Justin Morrow in the 90th minute to tie the game.
Eight minutes of stoppage time were added on, but it looked like the game was destined to end 2-2. On Orlando’s final heave into the penalty area, Drew Moor shoved down Julio Baptista in the box, prompting referee Ismail Elfath to signal for a penalty. Toronto’s players were incensed by the controversial call, with Reds defender Josh Williams getting sent off for foul and abusive language towards the referee. Through all of this, the veteran Kaká kept his cool and delivered the final blow in the game’s 100th minute (the Toronto broadcasters do not appear to be happy about it, as you’ll hear in the clip).
Orlando’s Citrus Bowl hosted 53,269 fans for a friendly match between Mexico and Costa Rica this week in 2015, proving yet again just how passionate and massive the local soccer community is. Orlando has become a regular destination for international games in the years since. LA Galaxy star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez featured in the game for El Tri.
The captain made MLS Team of the Week for his heroics in the 2016 match against Toronto. Peep who made the team as well at striker...he’d be playing for Orlando City 13 months later.
The 2019 MLS All-Star roster was released this week last year ahead of the league’s matchup with Atlético Madrid at Exploria Stadium. Nani was voted into the starting lineup for the game.
This Week in Transfers
Midfielder Matías Peréz García was waived this week in 2017, while Brazilian center back Leo Pereira was signed off the Orlando City B roster to fill his slot. MPG currently plays for Gimnasia in his home country of Argentina, while Pereira returned to Brazil after 2017 and now suits up for reigning Copa Libertadores winners Flamengo.
Orlando City signed center back Shane O’Neill this week in 2018. O’Neill would feature in 24 matches for Orlando across two seasons before having his option declined following the 2019 season. He now plays for Seattle Sounders FC.
No Orlando City players were born this week.