Last season Orlando city lost arguably the most popular player to sign for them since the inception of the franchise. Kaka was a surprising signing for the Lions who had just joined the MLS in 2015.
As the first designated player he also became the highest earning player in MLS history with a guaranteed basic pay of $7.2 million, but apart from earning so much for playing for Orlando, how did he impact the team.
Kaka started his Orlando City career in the best possible way, scoring Orlando City’s first MLS goal and ending his first season with 9 goals and 7 assists from 28 games in the 2015 MLS season.
The next season turned out to be his best despite missing the first three matches of the 2016 MLS season. He turned out for the Lions on 24 occasions scoring 9 goals and providing ten more for his teams mates.
His final season was less fruitful as he ended with 6 goals and 5 assists in 23 league games for the Lions.
In all these seasons, Orlando City missed out on winning the MLS Cup as well as failing to make it to the playoffs, but what would Orlando City miss about Kaka?
On the commercial front signing Kaka gave the Orlando City one of the best head starts for an expansion team, and arguably the team may not have gained as much worldwide popularity as it has now if Kaka was not signed from the beginning.
On the field of play, Kaka was one of only four players who scored at least 4 goals last season and was the second highest goal scorer as well as the highest goal provider throughout his stay with the Lions.
The Brazilian amassed almost 6,000 minutes of football for the Lions and one key part of his game that would be missed the most was how much of an attacking threat he provided the Lions. His hold up play helped the likes of Cyle Larin flourish in the attack and his ability to play key passes was responsible for most of the goal mouth actions in the Lions’ opponents half.
The only player closer to Kaka in the current Lions’ squad is Justin Meram, but Chris Mueller is showing signs of a player who could be influential this season also, fans would be hoping the likes of Josue Colman would also help to provide the attacking threat that Kaka gave the team.