Orlando City plays friendly to aid Puerto Rico, says farewell to its Captain and pays tribute to fallen fan

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Orlando City Soccer 6 Puerto Rico National Team 1, Orlando City Soccer Stadium, Orlando, 4th November 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Orlando City Soccer hosted an international friendly match against the Puerto Rico national team on Saturday night to aid the island’s recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The game was played in a tough but fair spirit that befitted a game of this nature as the Lions won 6-1 with the focus being on anything but the scoreline.

Not only did the game aid the people of Puerto Rico but it was also a last opportunity for fans to say farewell to club captain Kaká. Sadly, the game also honored fallen supporter Joseph Campo Jr., who died in a car crash on Halloween.

Orlando City Soccer 6 Puerto Rico National Team 1, Orlando City Soccer Stadium, Orlando, 4th November 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

A crowd of 8,231 turned out to see Puerto Rico take the lead in the 19th minute as David Caban slotted home after a mix up in the home defence. 20 minutes later, Kaká sent a lovely long ball into the penalty box, where Dom Dwyer showed superb skill to bring the ball down before firing home low into the right hand corner of the net to level the scores.

Orlando City Soccer 6 Puerto Rico National Team 1, Orlando City Soccer Stadium, Orlando, 4th November 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

At halftime, Orlando Head Coach Jason Kreis switched out nearly the entire lineup, staying true to his word of using as many substitutes as possible so they could be on the field with Kaká one last time.

Orlando City Soccer 6 Puerto Rico National Team 1, Orlando City Soccer Stadium, Orlando, 4th November 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Cyle Larin then have the men in purple the lead in the 59th minute as he slotted home after a nice through ball from Dillon Powers.

Orlando City Soccer 6 Puerto Rico National Team 1, Orlando City Soccer Stadium, Orlando, 4th November 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Kaká was supposed to play the whole game but his night came to a premature end when he started to have difficulty with his running. Kries decided to replace him in the 65th minute and he embraced every teammate as he made his way off the field. The crowd paid suitable tribute as the Brazilian legend’s Orlando City playing career officially came to an end.

Orlando City Soccer 6 Puerto Rico National Team 1, Orlando City Soccer Stadium, Orlando, 4th November 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

“When I went off the field tonight and saw the supporters and everybody … this made me very, very happy. I know every time I want to come here I will be welcome,” Kaká (pictured above) said. “When I came here, the community of Orlando they just knew about basketball, maybe, and football, and now after three years I know a lot of people here love soccer as well. This is something that makes me very happy.”

Orlando City Soccer 6 Puerto Rico National Team 1, Orlando City Soccer Stadium, Orlando, 4th November 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

In the 69th minute, the supporters held a moment of silence for Joe Campo as a solitary flare was lit on the Capo stand he would have normally stood on to encourage Orlando fans to get behind their team. Fittingly, Orlando would find the net in such a moment as forward Hadji Barry tapped home for a 3-1 lead.

Orlando City Soccer 6 Puerto Rico National Team 1, Orlando City Soccer Stadium, Orlando, 4th November 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Seb Hines made it a 4-1 lead in the 79th minute and the Lions scored again seven minutes later when Pierre Da Silva crossed the ball to Rafael Ramos, whose shot bounced off the right post into the path of Tony Rocha (pictured below left) who applied a smart finish.

Orlando City Soccer 6 Puerto Rico National Team 1, Orlando City Soccer Stadium, Orlando, 4th November 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

An excellent run by Ramos in the 90th minute provided the fodder for Larin to his second and the final goal of the evening in the 90th minute.

“To play this game was incredible because of the cause,” Kaká said. “It was not just about the soccer game, it was for people in a country that needs our support right now and we tried to do our best tonight and help these people that really need us.”

Orlando City Soccer 6 Puerto Rico National Team 1, Orlando City Soccer Stadium, Orlando, 4th November 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

After the game, Kreis said “It certainly will go down in my history, my record books for being a special night to be a part of I will put that feather in my cap and I will appreciate it forever.”

Puerto Rico coach Carlos Cantarero said “It really showed what Puerto Rican soccer is capable of. We had limitations in Puerto Rico with the situation we’re living in, training, being able to get the group together,” Cantarero said through a translator. The second half, physically, you could kind of tell the difference.”

Lineups/Substitutions:

Orlando City SC – GK Earl Edwards, Jr., D Donny Toia (Pierre Da Silva), Jonathan Spector (Seb Hines 46’), Tommy Redding (Conor Donovan 75’), Kevin Alston (Rafael Ramos 46’), M PC, Antonio Nocerino (Servando Carrasco 46’), Will Johnson (Dillon Powers 46’), Richie Laryea (Hadji Barry 46’), F ⓒ Kaká (Tony Rocha 65’), Dom Dwyer (Cyle Larin 46’)

Substitutes Not Used: None

Puerto Rico – GK Matthew Sánchez, D Juan Coca, Javier Lalondriz, Marcos Martínez, David Cabán (Elliot Vélez 77’), M Jeremy Hall, Andrés Carbero (Daniel Arce 85’), Joseph Marrero (Jorge Rosa 55’), Jorge Rivera (Gerald Díaz 66’), F Héctor Ramos (José Rodríguez 90+2’), Micheal Ramos (Emanuel Sánchez 74’)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Joel Serrano, D Víctor Pinto, Javier De La Rosa, M Alejandro Colón

More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

 

 

 

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