ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Orlando City Lions hosted Fuerza Puerto Rico in a friendly match Saturday at Orlando City Stadium that doubled as a fundraiser for the United for Puerto Rico Fund, providing hurricane relief efforts to the island nation. The match began with two honor presentations: one for Kaka, a touching sendoff for his final game as a Lion; and one for Jose Campo, a member of the “Ruckus,” the group of loyal Lions supporters who “man the wall” with flags, purple smoke, drums, and chants each game. Campo lost his life in an unfortunate auto accident Tuesday. Both teams played with minimal aggression. The atmosphere of play seemed friendly; two teams playing for the sheer love the beautiful game before an audience of 8,200-plus fans.
Fuerza Puerto Rico made it on the board first with a goal by David Caban in the 19th minute because of the opening Orlando City goalie Earl Edwards, Jr. created when he came forward out of the goal box.
Orlando City tied the score in the 24th minute thanks to a far left pass from the backfield by Kaka to Dom Dwyer, who bent the ball to find the back of the net in the right corner.
When next Orlando had the ball, Dwyer tried again with a right cross to Rich Laryea, who attempted a shot on goal, but the shot was saved by Fuerza goalie Matthew Sanchez.
In the second half, history repeated itself in reverse in the 59th minute: Powers passed the ball to Larin, who drew Sanchez out of the box and was able to make the goal on target, giving the Lions a one-point lead 2-1.
In the 63rd minute, Kaka was substituted off by Tony Rocha, at which point he embraced his teammates and Head Coach Jason Kreis in valediction.
Shortly thereafter, PC scored Orlando’s third goal, making the score 3-1. In the 78th minute, the Lions scored their fourth goal courtesy of a corner kick which Cyle Larin caught and passed to Seb Hines, who tapped the ball into the net.
Orlando’s fifth goal was more epic one: Tony Rocha got a goal on target after Sanchez was drawn out the box, to successfully block Power’s kick. The ball bounced out, but Rocha saw the opportunity and nailed it.
By the close of the game–Kaka’s last as a Lion–the Lions won 6-1.
“I think all of the three benefits that we received from the match were very important. The benefit to Puerto Rico and the fact that we could contribute in some small fashion is hugely important to all of the players and coaches. And then to be a part of [Kaká’s] last match in the stadium was really important to me and something I’ll remember forever. To honor the fallen supporter was really important as well because we in this Club believe that our fans are not just fans, we believe they’re part of our family.” – Orlando City Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis on the significance of the friendly match