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Will Kaka’s Final Season in Orlando be a Special One?

In his prime, Kaka was simply sublime, a true definition of dedication, natural talent and undeniable skill that left many an opponent trailing in his wake as he zoomed in on goal or sought out that killer pass.

For the man born Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, the list of honours is exceptional with club, country and individually.

Winner of the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2007, winner of the Champions League with Milan in 06/07, winner of Serie A in 03/04, La Liga in 11/12 with Real Madrid AND winner of the FIFA World Cup in 2002 with Brazil just scratches the surface on Kaka’s phenomenal career.

After leaving Milan (for a second time) in 2014, Kaka made the surprise move to the MLS, where he signed a contract with the newly formed Orlando City as their first ‘Designated Player’ in a deal largely influenced by the major stakeholder in the club, Brazilian, Flávio Augusto da Silva.

In the two seasons Kaka (and Orlando City) have been involved in the MLS, they have failed to qualify for the end of season play-offs after finishing 14th and 15th overall respectively. Overseas on the international scene, the midfielder has been a little quiet; Kaka appeared just once in his national colours in 2016 for a Brazil side who are 8/1 in the early bet365 World Cup betting to win in Russia 2018.

That is no reflection on Kaka’s contribution; 18 goals in 52 MLS games is not the worst return (especially when you consider he plays the number 10 attacking midfield role) but rather the result of a newly formed team attempting to find its feet.

Next season will be both Kaka’s and Orlando City’s third season in the MLS and rumour has it that Kaka has told reporters it will be his last.

So if 2017 does prove to be Kaka’s final hurrah in the MLS, what can Orlando City do to make sure the Brazilian goes out with the success his career deserves?

Turn Draws into Wins
Last season Orlando drew 14 of their 34 MLS games (the most in the Eastern Conference) and second highest in the whole of the MLS (LA Galaxy topped the list with 16).

After missing out on last season’s play-offs by one point, Orlando’s inability to close out a game coupled with a disastrous September (which saw them lose three games in a row) will have to go down as an experience to be learnt from before March comes around.

Strengthen the Worst Defence in the League
Orlando goalkeeper Joe Bendik had the ominous task of picking the ball out of his net 60 times last season.

That is the most in both Eastern and Western conferences and in the end proved fatal in the Lions' attempt to make the post season play-offs.

Keep Hold of Cyle Larin
The 21-year-old Canadian, who has been linked with a move to Celtic in recent times, has been a revelation in the MLS and held the honour of being the Lions top scorer in both their MLS seasons.

Larin is the only player to have made more appearances for Orlando in their short history than Kaka and is central to their future plans. Lose him and they will lose one of the MLS’s brightest stars.

Orlando City do have a realistic shot of reaching the play-offs for the first time and with Kaka in your team, anything is possible.