Orlando City hosts the Columbus Crew tonight in what will be the second to last match of the season and likely the last home game fans will see midfielder Kaka in the purple and white. Kaka announced earlier in the week that this would be his last season with the club and ends a 3-year stay in Orlando for the former Brazilian national teamer. Orlando City plays out these final two matches with nothing to play for except pride, as the Lions have been knocked out of playoff contention in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. Tonight’s match, a 5 p.m. kickoff, will be a nice send off for Kaka and his storied career. We take a look at a few of the keys to tonight’s matchup.

Emotional evening 

There’s no holding back for Kaka in his final home match for Orlando City. It doesn’t seem long ago that the 35-year old just signed a blockbuster deal with the Lions. Fast forward three years and Kaka’s in his final season with the club.

Playing the spoiler 

The Crew enter with a record of 15-12-5 and are currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. A chance to play the role of spoiler remains in the cards for Orlando City, with the home crowd behind them and Columbus on its way to the postseason.

Remember the last time? 

The last time these two clubs met was a 1-1 draw at home for Orlando City back on Aug. 19. Both teams are pretty evenly matched and should make for another close call at Orlando City Stadium.

Stepping up on the front end

Forwards Dom Dwyer and Cyle Larin have been steady as of late and the Lions will need both attackers to stay aggressive against the Crew. If Orlando City can get some contributions from both forwards, they’ll be in good shape.

Defense needs to hold up

No need to tell Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik about stepping up in the goal, as the 28-year old has made 115 saves this 2017 campaign. The defenders around him need to challenge any attacks made on goal.

About The Author

Andy Villamarzo has covered high school and youth sports for the Tampa Bay Times and The Tampa Tribune as a correspondent since 2008. He is a native of Holiday, FL, who graduated from Gulf High School and studied at St. Petersburg College. He has covered various prep, collegiate and professional athletes throughout his writing career, including Josh Johnson (Jacksonville Jaguars), Patrick Schuster (Arizona Diamondbacks) and currently writes for other publications like The Suncoast News, Friday Night Football Magazine and TopDrawerSoccer.com.

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