The Houston Dynamo head coach will be bidding to stop the Brazilian superstar when Orlando City visit for Friday night's MLS matchup.
Owen Coyle will bid to continue his winning start as Houston Dynamo head coach when Orlando City SC visit in Friday night’s MLS clash, with three points dependent on coming up with a game plan to stop Brazilian maestro Kaka.
Taking over in December from long-time boss Dominic Kinnear, who returned to the San Jose Earthquakes, Coyle guided Houston to a 1-0 home victory over the Columbus Crew in last weekend’s season opener, thanks largely to some goalkeeping heroics from new first-choice Tyler Deric.
Orlando, meanwhile, marked their first-ever MLS fixture with a 1-1 draw against fellow expansion side New York City FC in front of more than 62,000 fans at the Citrus Bowl, as captain Kaka scored with a deflected stoppage-time free-kick to hand his team a share of the points.
It marked a promising debut for the former AC Milan star but, after beating the Florida-based outfit 3-0 in last month’s preseason matchup, Coyle is confident of getting the better of him for a second time when the two teams meet again at BBVA Compass Stadium.
“I know they’ve got very good players, I know they’re a very good team and there’s no getting away from a player of Kaká’s ability who could play probably in any league in the world,” the former Burnley and Bolton Wanderers manger told the club’s official website
“So we’re very fortunate to have him in the league and Orlando are very blessed to have him in their team. He’s one of a number of threats that they have so we’ll be very respectful of the opposition, as we always are.”
Coyle’s reputation has taken somewhat of a hit back in England since an ill-fated spell at Wigan Athletic saw him sacked in December 2013 less than six months into the job, following three straight home losses, but there seems to be budding excitement about his arrival in the States.
The Dynamo endured a disappointing 2014 campaign, missing out on a play-off spot for the first time since 2010 after an eighth-place finish in the Eastern Conference, but, in the likes of Brad Davis, Boniek Garcia, Giles Barnes and the soon-to-arrive Erick Torres, there is more than enough attacking talent available for a bounce back campaign.
With Coyle on board, too, some have even tipped the club as dark horse candidates for the MLS Cup title, and Kaka himself is among those who recognise their potential.
Referring to their previous match, the Orlando skipper told reporters on his mid-week conference call: “It was a hard game for us, the game was tough We could see how the team played, the philosophy of the coach, so we could prepare for this game understanding what they’re like.
“They have very good players, they’re in shape - we have to be prepared to beat them.”