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Columbus Crew SC Aware of Kaká but Confident they can Contain Him

Kaká is the star man for Crew SC's Saturday night opponent.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday night's Columbus Crew SC game will be worth the price of admission. It's not often that a former World Player of the Year and World Cup winner comes to MAPFRE Stadium, but that will be the case when Orlando City SC come to town.

The Lions boast creative midfielder Kaká, who was named the world's best player in 2007 while helping AC Milan win the UEFA Champions League. While with Milan, Kaká scored 70 goals in 193 appearances before a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid.

He is now a member of Orlando City and gracing Major League Soccer fields with his presence. Kaká has three goals and one assist in six games since joining the league and has quickly established himself as one of the MLS' best attacking players.

The midfielder is someone Crew SC will need to keep an eye on Saturday night.

"I think it's limiting the damage," Columbus head coach Gregg Berhalter said when asked about stopping Kaká. "You know he's going to do some good stuff because he's a great player, so it's just trying to limit that. He's going to get his touches on the ball and he's going to make some good passes so you've got to be aware."

Kaká is one of those special players that makes everyone around him better. Not only can he do magical things with the ball at his feet, but he creates space for teammates and knows how to find them in dangerous positions on the field. Having played at the highest level, Kaká understands the game better than most.

If you haven't seen Kaká play or don't remember him in Europe take a look at these highlights (may want to hit mute though).

At nearly 33-years old, the Brazilian is no longer in his prime, but still possess the skills to make MLS defenses look silly. This is the biggest challenge for the Black and Gold Saturday night and they must be conscious of him throughout the match.

"We're always aware of where he is," goalkeeper Steve Clark said of Kaká. "I'll be aware of where he is. He's a good passer of the ball, good distributor, so we're looking at guys running off him, probably more than when he has the ball when he's not in a shooting distance."

Clark's communication with his midfielders and defenders will be a key part of containing Kaká, as he will have the best view from the back of where players are moving.

The team will also have to be cognoscente of fouling too close to goal, as Kaká's set piece ability is known worldwide.

Of course, the Columbus players may be fairly familiar with defending a player like Kaká. Although not as renown, Crew SC has a special playmaker in Federico Higuain.

Over the few seasons, Columbus fans have seen Higuain do remarkable things in MLS play, just as Orlando fans have seen of Kaká in these first few weeks.

Having trained against Higuain each day may help Crew SC in this match.

"Pipa embarrasses me a lot in training so I'm used to it," Clark said. "There's nothing to fear. I believe in myself."

If they want to win this game, Clark and his teammates cannot be embarrassed by Kaká. Clark isn't worried about that though.

"I said Federico does, I didn't say that opponents do," Clark said with a chuckle.