ORLANDO, Fla. (October 15, 2017) - In its regular season home finale, Orlando City SC (10-14-9, 39 points) fell 1-0 to Columbus Crew SC (16-12-5, 53 points) on Sunday evening at Orlando City Stadium. The match was Kaká’s last in MLS; his last match at Orlando City Stadium will be on Saturday, Nov. 4 in the ‘Fuerza Puerto Rico Friendly’.
“Very difficult to finish the [home schedule] with a loss at home, to feel like we didn’t live up to the expectations. We didn’t live up to what our fans and our Club and our community ultimately deserved this season,” Lions head coach Jason Kreis said. “For me, with the atmosphere that we have, with the stadium, with everything that the ownership group has given, we need to do better than that. So we’ll spend the offseason getting really focused on where and how and when we can improve.”
Kreis came out with a starting XI of Donny Toia, Jonathan Spector, Seb Hines and Scott Sutter on the back line; Servando Carrasco, Antonio Nocerino, Giles Barnes and Yoshimar Yotún, who helped Peru qualify for the FIFA World Cup playoff stage last week, at midfield; and Dom Dwyer and captain Kaká up top. Joe Bendik started his 67th consecutive MLS match in goal for City.
Ola Kamara scored the only goal in the 66th minute with assists from Héctor Jiménez and Federico Higuaín.
Many of the 25,166 fans in attendance stayed after the final whistle to watch Kaká’s interview on the jumbotron. The captain took time to hug all his teammates and coaches while the crowd cheered on following his Man of the Match performance and a special video tribute to the first season at Orlando City Stadium. Kaká and the rest of the Lions were joined by their children and families for a lap around the pitch after the match.
Kaká scored the Club’s first MLS goal in stoppage time of its inaugural MLS match and finishes the latest chapter of his illustrious club career as Orlando City’s all-time MLS leader in assists (22) and as its second leading scorer (24).
In all, Kaká made 78 MLS and U.S. Open Cup appearances for City, was selected to the MLS All-Star Fan XI roster in all three years and captained the All-Stars in 2015 and 2016, winning MLS All-Star Game MVP in 2015.
Kaká was a major reason for Orlando City’s local and global popularity and, with Kaká, Orlando City was second in MLS in average attendance at the 65,000-seat Camping World Stadium and second in visiting attendance. Since opening the doors of Orlando City Stadium in March 2017, the Club has sold all 18,000 season tickets for the third straight year and consistently hosts sold out crowds for MLS games.
“I can’t credit him enough for everything that he’s given,” Kreis continued. “In every single minute that he’s played, he’s given everything of himself. You can’t ask for more than that.”
It was the 12th match of over 25,000 fans at Orlando City Stadium. After hosting its inaugural match on March 5, Orlando City Stadium hosted every home match for City, Orlando Pride and Orlando City B. It also hosted the U.S. Men’s National Team in a World Cup Qualifier, the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League Championship match yesterday and will host the NCAA Women’s College Cup in December. Orlando City Stadium will also host the ‘Fuerza Puerto Rico Friendly’ on Nov. 4, with all proceeds going to the United for Puerto Rico initiative to help raise funds and aid recovery efforts for the island following the hurricane devastation.
The Lions will finish their third season in MLS on Sunday, Oct. 22, when they visit the Philadelphia Union. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. ET at Talen Energy Stadium.