Kaká scored in his long-awaited return from injury. Carlos Rivas added his first goal of the season on a sensational strike from distance. And Orlando City SC continued its red-hot start with a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday afternoon.
The Eastern Conference leaders dominated possession throughout, but lacked the cutting edge needed to secure their record fifth consecutive win at the new Orlando City Stadium until coach Jason Kreis inserted Kaká and Rivas together with a half-hour to go.
The pressure immediately increased on Zac MacMath's goal. And after Rivas broke through on a brilliant 25-yard strike, the Rapids never seriously looked like escaping a fourth consecutive defeat. Kaká's strike off a rebound in front of goal sealed it early in stoppage time.
- Kaká scores to cap emotional return from hamstring injury
- Lions believe first goal for Carlos Rivas a sign of things to come
- MORE OF A GOOD THING: Any remote concern that Kaká’s return from an opening weekend hamstring injury could mess with Orlando City’s momentum was immediately quieted. The former Ballon d’Or winner nearly set up Rivas for a goal with his first pass of the game, and in general, the Lions found another gear over the final half-hour.
- A PERSONAL STATEMENT: While Kaká’s role off the bench was expected, Rivas’ omission from the starting XI was his first this season. When he did get on the pitch, he played like a man motivated by Kreis’ decision, creating repeated danger down the left flank.
- MACMATH’S MISFORTUNE: This was likely the end of a brief starting role for MacMath as Tim Howard returns from a three-game suspension next week. Despite conceding twice on Saturday, MacMath could take little blame after making four stops, including a phenomenal denial of Antonio Nocerino early and a fine reaction save on Cyle Larin’s header midway through the second half.