UNIMAS + FB LIVE: Kaká - Orlando City SC

ORLANDO, Fla. – Kaká will definitely be back in action for Orlando City SC against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. Exactly when he returns to the starting lineup and where he will play when he does remain question marks.


The Lions have been without their star Designated Player and captain since he strained a hamstring after just 10 minutes in their season opener with New York City FC on March 5, but the team has filled the void created by his absence well and won five of their first six games without him.


There is no doubt Kaká will return in some capacity on Saturday, but head coach Jason Kreis admitted the team will take a cautious approach to reintegrating their Brazilian ace.


“It would have felt like a huge gamble to have him ready for New York City [last Sunday], but this week he’s had more full sessions to show us he’s ready,” said Kreis. “Now it comes down to how long could he last before you put him at risk to re-injure, and that time is much, much less than 90 minutes.


“The decision as we see it, if he were to start, the minutes he would be able to play would be a maximum of one half. So now, is that the best decision competitively for the group? That’s what we have to weigh up.”


Kreis insisted this week that there has been no pressure to get the star man back in the lineup, while Kaká himself has not been agitating to reclaim his place.


“If there is one thing I can say about Ricky, I never use the word difficult when you’re managing him,” said Kreis. “He is such an understanding person when it comes to being part of a team, so he has been nothing but professional through this process.


“At the end of the day, the thing that is beautiful about him is that no matter how many things he’s won or how much is in his bank account, he just loves the game. You see it when he trains. It just brings joy to him to be out there, and it’s always fantastic to work with people like that.”


Kaká will return, either as starter or off the bench, to a new-look Orlando team that is improving in Kreis’ recently-introduced midfield diamond. New options Giles Barnes, Will Johnson, Donny Toia and Scott Sutter have all chalked up assists in the captain’s absence.


Kreis is not worried in the least, however, about how the former FIFA World Player of the Year will fit into the system.


“One thing I’ll never stress about is whether Ricky understands tactically what we’re trying to do,” he added. “Even though he’s been injured, he has been involved and understands what we’re looking for in this different tactical shape. There will be no doubt for him what his role is when he plays.”


What role that is remains to be seen, as Kaká can fit into almost any of the club's attacking spots.


“Another great characteristic he has is that he can play in multiple positions,” Kreis said. “It could be at the top of the diamond, but he has the energy to be at the side of the diamond as well as the second striker. We can let the situation dictate that.”