Kaka says he's ready to play

Sunday will mark Orlando City Soccer Club’s fourth game of the year, but for team captain Kaka, it’ll be game one.

Hours before OCSC’S opener, the team announced Kaka would be sidelined with an upper thigh injury.

“It was a tough period,” Kaka told reporters after training Tuesday.  

After weeks of rehab and extra training, the captain is ready for his 2016 debut.  

“I’m ready to play and I mean it," he said.
Minutes earlier, Kaka set up a quick give and go that resulted in him perfectly sending a ball into the lower righthand corner of the net during a mini inter squad scrimmage.  

Prior to his injury, in a one-on-one interview with Holly Bristow, Kaka talked about his success this preseason, scoring four goals in their last three friendlies.
Kaka has spent the last three weeks working with trainers to get back to full strength and watching his team from the sidelines.  

“I think at home we need to improve a lot,” Kaka said.  

OCSC tied their first two home matches against Real Salt Lake and Chicago Fire.  

Before the international break, Orlando City beat NYCFC on the road.

Kaka feels his team could have scored more goals this season and expressed some frustration with his teammates taking an extra touch on the ball instead of shots on goal.  

Kaka even called out his buddy #18 Kevin Molino on Twitter during the NYCFC game for not taking a shot deep in the box, tweeting “Kevinnnnnnnnn!!!! I’ll kill you tomorrow bro (emoji) #NYCvORL”.  

“I think it’s an emotional thing because he is a very good finisher," Kaka said. "He had a lot of opportunities, but he didn’t play last year.”

Kaka referred to Molino tearing his ACL six games into last season and missing the remainder.  

The captain says once Molino scores his first goal, he expects many more from the offensive midfielder.
Injury after injury on top of national team call-outs presented challenges for Orlando City in their inaugural season, at times making it difficult to field a full team and bench.

Orlando City drafted some promising young players in the off season.  

And within the last month, they signed Kaka’s former AC Milan teammate Antonio Nocerino and his former Brazilian National Team teammate Julio Baptista aka “The Beast”.  

“I’ve said the most important thing to win a championship is a strong group. And with Baptista and Nocerino, we have strong group,” Kaka said, noting that even with normal injuries and national team call-ups, Orlando City will be strong this season.
Kaka scored nine goals and bagged seven assists last season.  

He’s determined to improve those numbers.  

He admits, he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself.  

“I think this year is going to be tough for me because there is just two years left on my contract," he said. "So, every year it’s more difficult. I want to win this league. I want to win the championship."

Orlando City is taking on the reigning MLS Champions, the Portland Timbers Sunday at 8 p.m.  

Last season, the Lions beat the Timbers in Portland 2-0.  

Kaka is confident in what his team can do Sunday.  

“We can win this game,” he said.

After all, last season you may recall the Lions beat the reigning 2014 MLS Champs, the LA Galaxy, 4-0 at home in the Citrus Bowl.

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