Orlando City defeat West Bromwich as all three designated players score


Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice

Kaka scored an unassisted goal in his first game back for Orlando City after his red card suspension.

ORLANDO — Kaka returned to the Orlando City lineup and made an impact almost right away as he scored the opening goal for the Lions as they defeated English side West Bromwich Albion 2-1 in a friendly on Wednesday.

Kaka was returning after sitting out on Saturday against FC Dallas due to a red card suspension. Orlando City was held scoreless in the last game they played without the captain.

The Lions went down early in the first half when Callum McManaman put the ball past Donovan Ricketts and into the net for a goal giving West Brom a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute.

Kaka tied the game at 1-1 for Orlando City when he dribbled the ball up field and into the box before putting the ball in the back of the net just before the halftime whistle.

“I thought we were excellent,” said head coach Adrian Heath following the match. “When I look at the team at the end we had five guys under 20 on the field and they did smashing.”

Orlando City took a 2-1 lead early in the second half when Carlos Rivas blasted a free kick into the top right corner of the net for a goal.

The Lions extended the lead to two goals when Bryan Rochez buried one into the back of the net for his second goal in an Orlando City uniform bringing the score to 3-1. This was Rochez’s first game action since May as the Honduran was stuck in New Zealand.

“That’s the idea,” said Rochez about making an impact after being away from the club for a while. “To come back and contribute as quickly as I can.”

Despite the win Orlando City did lose a player due to injury as Harrison Heath left the game in the 28th minute with what appeared to be a knee injury. This marks the second consecutive friendly where Orlando City has lost a player due to injury, with Kevin Molino suffering an ACL injury against Ponte Preta back in May.

Coach Heath said following the game that Harrison would be further evaluated on Thursday and the club would have a better idea then about his injury.

The win marked the first time this season all three of Orlando’s designated players scored a goal with Kaka, Rivas and Rochez all getting on the scoresheet.

“It looks good for the future,” said Heath of the looks he got at some of the club’s younger players.

The Lions could have back Cyle Larin and Darwin Ceren for Saturday’s game against the New York Red Bulls as both players will be returning from the CONCACAF Gold Cup after both of their respective national teams were eliminated.

The win over West Bromwich also improves Orlando’s record to 2-2 all-time against English club teams.

Orlando City (6-7-6) will now return to  MLS play when they take on the New York Red Bulls at the Citrus Bowl on Saturday, July 18 with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.

“It was good to get a win, get the confidence back up and prepare for Saturday,” said Amobi Okugo following the win.