Orlando CIty play to draw against New York City FC


Danny Morales / Valencia Voice

Kaká scored the opening goal of the game, as Orlando City SC played to a 1-1 draw against NYCFC.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Kaká scored his second goal of the preseason as Orlando City SC played to a 1-1 draw against fellow MLS expansion team New York City FC in third opening game of the Carolina Challenge Cup at Blackbaud Stadium on Saturday.

Orlando City controlled possession for much of the first half and got on the scoreboard in the 31st minute when Kaká took a shot from just outside the 18-yard box and found the bottom right corner of the net for a goal. The Lions maintained the 1-0 lead going into the locker room at halftime.

“It’s been great, I think we know how to play,” said Brek Shea about the chemistry he’s been building with Kaká. “He’s a great intelligent footballer and we know how to play well together even though we’ve only played two games, practiced a few times together, I think its come along great.”

New York City FC came out in the second half looking like a much better team as MLS rookie Khiry Shelton scored the equalizer in the 56th minute thank to an assist for Spanish national David Villa.

The Lions back line played well as they contained a world class player such as Villa to just the one assist and no gold, but he did hit the crossbar early on in the opening half with his first shot of the game.

“Overall I’m very, very pleased,” said Orlando City manager Adrian Heath after the game. “I thought we defended well, defended the box well. I thought Rafael had some great runs going forward, so overall I was really pleased with the night’s work.”

Both teams would go back and forth for the final 35 minutes of the match, each getting solid chances at goal, before ultimately finishing in a draw. This marked Orlando’s fourth preseason game — not including a scrimmage against BK Hacken last week.

“Very pleasing,” said Heath about his club’s performance. “We’ve upped it a notch from the Hacken game, pleasing thing is every game it’s got better and I thought some of our play at times was very, very good.”

The matchup was a preview of Orlando City’s season opener on March 8 which will be against the same New York City team that they faced on Wednesday.

Orlando City’s next game in the Carolina Challenge Cup is against the Charleston Battery on Wednesday, Feb. 25. The Battery are currently at the top of the tournament table, as they were the only team to win on Saturday and earn 3 points.

“I was very impressed with Orlando City,” said NYCFC manager Jason Kreis after the game. “Very impressed with their performance, very impressed with the style of play.”