Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver Whitecaps Know Containing Kaka Is Paramount against Orlando City SC

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver Whitecaps Know Containing Kaka Is Paramount against Orlando City SC

Article excerpt

Whitecaps wary of Kaka in tilt versus Orlando

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The Vancouver Whitecaps know this weekend's opponent isn't just any expansion team.

And on the off chance they need a reminder, one look at the man wearing No. 10 for Orlando City SC should do the trick.

Brazilian great Kaka, the former Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year winner, is the captain of Orlando -- one of Major League Soccer's two new franchises -- and the key figure for a club that already has a win and tie in its first two outings.

"You just look at the awards and what he's accomplished throughout his career," said Whitecaps defender Steven Beitashour. "He's definitely a great player -- not a good player -- a great player. He drives that team.

"The guys around him will try to affect him as much as they can, (but) it's one of those things, you can't stop him, you just try to slow him down."

The highest paid player in MLS, Kaka has accomplished just about everything in soccer, having won the World Cup, the Champions League, Italy's Serie A and Spain's La Liga.

The 32-year-old attacking midfielder began the newest chapter of his storied career two weeks ago with a memorable free-kick goal in stoppage time against fellow newcomers New York City FC that salvaged a 1-1 draw in front of more than 62,000 fans at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.

Kaka's devastating right boot is always one swipe away from altering the course of a game, and Vancouver is well aware that avoiding fouls near the penalty area will be key on Saturday against a player that has 29 goals in 87 appearances for his country.

"Don't give any free kicks away. That might help," deadpanned Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson. "Look, he's a fantastic player ... fantastic ability from dead balls. If we give him a chance then he's obviously going to thrive with that."

For many of the Whitecaps, especially the Latin Americans on the team, playing against Kaka will be something to cherish. …

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