ORLANDO – They waited and waited and waited. Standing and cheering with every run that Orlando City Soccer Club made Sunday evening.
And Kaka made the 62,510 fans at the Citrus Bowl wait until the 91st minute. But he made it worth the wait, striking a free kick off the wall of defenders and into the net as the Lions posted a 1-1 tie with New York City FC.
"When I saw the ball go into the net, it was amazing," Kaka said.
Everyone in the stadium Sunday seemed to agree with that statement as it looked as though New York City FC may come in and steal a win on Orlando City's opening night. After all, Orlando City was playing a man down after Aurelien Collin was red carded in the 83rd minute.
But that did not matter to Kaka, who was happy he could pull out the tie.
"The result is not what we wanted from the first game but everything that happened tonight was good for everybody," Kaka said. "For the first game, the crowd, this team, it is something special."
Early on, it looked like Orlando City would have a big night offensively, dominating the first half of action, putting pressure on New York City FC goalkeeper Jason Saunders.
On one of the saves, Saunders looked like he may have to leave the game, hitting his head on the post. But after a few minutes, he was able to continue.
And it looked like he was about to pick up the win as the visitors scored the historic goal first in the two teams' first MLS game.
In the 76th minute, David Villa, who had been quiet most of the game, found Mix Diskerud, and Diskerud did not miss, curling a nice ball into the far corner of the goal. It was the only shot on target recorded for New York City FC.
It looked like it might stand until a penalty gave Orlando City a free kick.
"It was an unfortunate goal, I think we need to go back and see what the foul was like, but tactically you don't want to make too many fouls around the goal, especially against a player like Kaka," New York City FC head coach Jason Kreis said.
Kakamade them pay and gave the home team something to smile about as they headed out of the Citrus Bowl.
"We have a point on the board and now we have something to build on," Heath said.
The Lions will travel to Houston to face the Dynamo on Friday night.
Michael Parsons writes for Florida Today.