Orlando City shutout division leading D.C. United to claim fifth straight result


Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice

Kaka scored his seventh goal of the season on Sunday, putting him in a tie for third on the MLS scoring list.

ORLANDO — Kaka scored the lone goal of the match as Orlando City SC claimed their fifth straight result with a 1-0 victory over Eastern Conference leading D.C. United at the Citrus Bowl in front of an announced crowd of 30,054 on Sunday.

Orlando City was able to get on the scoreboard midway through the first half when Kaka followed up his blocked penalty with a header for his seventh goal of the season.

“We’re getting to know more about him, what he’s capable of…” said Heath about his captain. “He’s going to grow and grow as the season goes on.”

Kaka’s seven goals this season puts him in a tie for third in the MLS with the likes of Clint Dempsey, Sebastian Giovinco and Obafemi Martins.

The Lions held D.C. United to two shots on target as goalkeeper Tally Hall notched his second clean sheet of the season. Orlando City has been undefeated (3-2-0) since Hall’s return from an ACL injury.

Chemistry has been building for Orlando City through the course of the season but with the club now 15 games into the season it’s becoming more obvious to the coaching staff and players that the team is starting to gel.

“I just think that the team is growing together,” said Heath about. “The teams gelling, the camaraderie within the group is getting better by the minute, the others have a real desire to keep this run going.”

Veteran midfielder Lewis Neal got the start against his former club on Sunday, playing 83 minutes before being substituted off for Amobi Okugo.

“He’s just a really, really good footballer,” said Heath of the former D.C. United man. “He understands the game probably as well as anyone on this football club and you can play him anywhere on the field and he gets it.”

The win also featured a little bit of history as the match marked the first time in MLS history that a mandatory water break had to be implemented due to heat.

With the win Orlando City’s record improves to 5-5-5, 20 points which puts them in third in the Eastern Conference with two games in hand over conference leading D.C.

Orlando City will now get ready for U.S. Open Cup action against the Charleston Battery on Wednesday before returning to league play Saturday at Montreal against the Impact.

Coach Heath did mention after Sunday’s win that the club will be playing to win the U.S. Open Cup, but any player with any nagging injury will sit out the match on Wednesday.

The match against the Battery is set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff with the game being streamed on orlandocitysc.com/live.