Brazil

Brazilian icons Kaká and Oscar Schmidt share Orlando City moment

SANFORD, Fla. – When it comes to sports in Brazil there’s no bigger name in soccer than Ricardo Kaká and no bigger basketball icon than Oscar Schmidt.

On Tuesday at the Orlando City Soccer Club’s training facility the two friends took a moment to chat while Schmidt was in town with family just as Kaká was preparing to head out for a U.S. Open Cup match in Chicago.

Kaká presented the Naismith Memorial Basketball and FIBA hall of famer with a personalized No. 14 OCSC jersey before the two shared stories of how they met many years ago.

( – Click here for J.C.’s story on Orlando City SC for Orlando Sentinel – )

Kaká, a former FIFA World Player of the Year, is in his first season in Major League Soccer. He’ll captain the MLS All-Stars against Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur next Wednesday.

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Kaká free kick helps Orlando City Soccer Club draw New York City FC in inaugural MLS meeting

ORLANDO – Fans rose to their feet each time Kaká touched the ball during the Major League Soccer debuts for both the Orlando City Soccer Club and New York City FC.

But it took a little more than the length of the match for locals to get what they came to see at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

Kaká delivered a crucial goal, thanks to a lucky bounce, that evened the match after NYCFC took the lead in the 76th minute. Spain’s David Villa set up U.S. national team member Mix Diskerud for a score from the top of the box that put the visitors in front and seemingly ruined the day for the Lions.

But the Brazilian legend tied the match on a free kick in the 91st minute by deflecting a shot off of defender Jeb Brovsky, who provided an otherwise fiery presence throughout the match.

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Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City coach offers MLS Cup prediction and forecast on 2015 roster

The MLS Cup goes down this Sunday at 3 p.m. in Los Angeles between the Galaxy and New England Revolution. There’s plenty of star power involved in the matchup, led by Landon Donovan, perhaps the greatest American soccer player of all time, playing in his final professional game.

On Monday Major League Soccer teams will begin submitting their list of unprotected players for the upcoming Expansion Draft as the Orlando City Soccer Club and New York City FC are scheduled to pick through those leftovers on Wednesday.

I spoke with Orlando City coach Adrian Heath earlier this week about his impression of the MLS postseason, and what he’s been doing as of late to prepare for the upcoming MLS drafts and signing periods for the Lions.

(– Click here for J.C.’s story on Adrian Heath’s thoughts on MLS Cup for MLSSoccer.com –)

(– Click here for J.C.’s story on Heath scouting talent for 2015 roster for MLSSoccer.com –)

Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club Falls Short in Final USL Pro Postseason Run

On Saturday the Orlando City Soccer Club suffered its first home loss in 20 matches at the worst possible time.

The Lions, the USL Pro regular season champions, lost 1-0 to eighth-seeded Harrisburg City in the first round of the playoffs at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports. The setback ended a bid at capturing a third title in four years for the defending champs before moving up to Major League Soccer in 2015.

Defender Tommy Redding, just 17-years of age, played the entire 90 minutes. He compared the loss to how he felt when he and current teammate Tyler Turner played together on the U-17 National Team and became the first group to fail to qualify for the World Cup a year ago.

“It was tough, but because of that process it makes this a little bit easier, but not too much,” Redding said. “I’ve felt this pain, but not as high of a scale. I was brothers with the guys at Bradenton (home of the U-17 residency program) but wasn’t as close as all my teammates here in Orlando, so it’s really tough.”

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on Tommy Redding and Tyler Turner for Major League Soccer – )

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Carnahan Chronicles Radio: MLS Talk; Unbeaten Orlando City; Playoff-Bound Orlando Predators

The July 26, 2014 edition of Carnahan Chronicles closed out with a caller asking some interesting questions about Major League Soccer. I was then joined by producer Chris Vazquez to debate whether the Orlando City Soccer Club could and should finish the USL PRO regular season unbeaten before talking a bit about the final regular season game for the playoff-bound Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League. A special shoutout to former Orlando Magic player Jameer Nelson was also in order as he recently signed a deal with the Dallas Mavericks, putting the final nail in the coffin of the Dwight Howard-era.

( – Click here to listen to the final segment Carnahan Chronicles from July 26, 2014 – )

Also, earlier in the week I followed up on a developing story regarding Orlando City and their pursuit of Brazilian player Robinho for Major League Soccer. ( – Click here to read the story at MLSSoccer.com – )

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Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club Pulls Scoreless Draw with Brazil’s Sao Paulo FC

Was it any coincidence the reports of Ricardo Kaka retuning to Sao Paulo FC, where he’ll play the remainder of the year before joining Orlando City Soccer Club in Major League Soccer in 2015, came out the same week the clubs were scheduled for an international friendly?

( – Click here to read my MLS story on Kaka comments from Orlando City coach – )

While Kaka was back home in Brazil, Orlando City and Sao Paulo played to a scoreless draw. The match came down to Orlando City goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, who made a save in the 90th minute off the foot of Alexandre Pato from the top of the box. It felt anything but routine despite the one-timer being offered up to his chest.

If you’ve been watching the World Cup this month you may remember the impressive day turned in by Mexican goalie Guillermo Ochoa against Brazil during a 0-0 draw in group play. Gallardo, who is of Mexican decent, was asked about the coincidence.

“I’m just happy that Brazilians couldn’t score on Mexicans,” he said with a laugh.

( – Click here to read my recap of Orlando City-Sao Paulo for Orlando Sentinel – )

( – Click here to read my preview of Orlando City-Sao Paulo for Orlando Sentinel – )

Carnahan Coverage: U.S. Men’s National Team Finishes Preparation for World Cup in Jacksonville

If you’ve ever wondered what’s become of former Major League Baseball shortstop Rafael Furcal I’ve got some news to pass along to you.

I spent the past weekend in Jacksonville covering the U.S. Men’s National Team for Major League Soccer, where I wrote a number of stories over the course of Friday and Saturday. But I did other things while I was there as well, such as attending a Jacksonville Suns baseball game before walking across the street to EverBank Field for the soccer match.

Below are the links to all eight soccer stories about the USMNT from the weekend. The first story created quite a bit of buzz among soccer fans and media members alike, which makes interest in a Furcal comeback pale mightily in comparison. But while I was at the park…

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