Orlando City will have to do without their star man through at least the middle of April, after they announced Monday that Kaká will be out of action for six weeks with a grade 1-2 left hamstring injury.
The Brazilian attacker suffered the injury in the eighth minute of Orlando's season opener on Sunday evening against New York City FC and was replaced by Giles Barnes in the 11th minute. Orlando went on to win, 1-0, thanks to a goal from Cyle Larin.
It was an especially bittersweet moment for Kaká, as well as the Orlando players, staff and fans, given that the evening also marked the opening of the team's brand new Orlando City Stadium.
“I am very, very disappointed for [Kaká]. He’s worked extremely hard in the offseason and hard in the preseason,” Orlando head coach Jason Kreis said to reporters after the game. “This could’ve been a huge night for him. I think everyone could see the energy he was already putting into the game in those 11 minutes. I thought this was going to be a special night for him. Deeply disappointed for him but the team moved on, and that’s a positive thing.”
As Kaká recovers, his place in the lineup will likely be taken by Barnes, a versatile attacker who was acquired via trade from the Vancouver Whitecaps on Feb. 25. Matias Perez Garcia, who started deeper in midfield for Orlando on Sunday, could also move further up the field to fill Kaká's place in the starting XI.