ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City’s biggest star will not be in attendance as his home nation takes the pitch in the stadium he calls home on Wednesday.
Kaká, who was on Brazil's 23-man Copa America Centenario roster before suffering a muscle strain in the lead-up to the tournament, will be treating the injury back in Brazil while his national team faces Haiti at Orlando City's Camping World Stadium (7:30 pm ET on FS1, UniMás, UDN).
An Orlando City spokesman confirmed that the 2002 World Cup champion will not be in Orlando to welcome his nation to Camping World Stadium: “Kaká is in Brazil being treated for his injury he sustained while playing for Brazil and will not be here [in Orlando] for the game on Wednesday.”
After a dominant start to his 2016 MLS campaign, the Orlando City captain was called upon to replace injured Bayern Munich winger Douglas Costa. But his dreams of participating in his first-ever Copa America were dashed by a muscle injury he suffered with Brazil in California just six days after Brazil manager Dunga added him to the roster.
"Unfortunately, in the last two [Brazil] call-ups he's been injured," Dunga told media in Orlando on Tuesday. "Maybe it's because of the rigorous training we have in the national team."
On June 2, the Orlando City captain returned to the Lions’ training grounds to begin rehabilitation, but was then released to go to Brazil, alongside Orlando City SC medical personnel, in order to receive specific treatment for the muscle strain.
According to Orlando City, the injury usually requires a two- to three-week recovery period.
Brazil coach Dunga has had his work cut out for him during this Copa America. With six players being replaced on the roster in recent weeks, some of Brazil’s best talent has been sidelined due to injuries. The list includes: Luis Gustavo (replaced by Walace), Kaká (replaced by Paulo Henrique Ganso), Douglas Costa (replaced by Kaká before his own injury), Rafinha (replaced by Lucas Moura), Éderson (replaced by Marcelo Grohe)and Ricardo Oliviera (replaced by Jonas).
Dunga acknowledged that he has been forced to repeat training sessions to bring players up to speed, but he told the media he remains confident that Brazil has a strong enough roster to succeed in the Copa America.
“We lost many players, but I’m confident with the players I have,” he said.