Orlando City GM upset by international duty as Kaka returns injured

Orlando City's general manager has spoken out against the FIFA mandate to release players for international duty, saying the MLS club is "extremely disappointed" that Brazilian star Kaka returned with a leg injury.

Kaka played 23 minutes for Brazil in a 1-0 win against Costa Rica on Friday but did not appear in Tuesday's 4-1 rout of the United States after reportedly suffering a muscle strain.

He sat out training on Monday to work with a physiotherapist and returned to his MLS club late on Wednesday night.

Orlando City said the club will examine him on Thursday before deciding if he is fit to face Sporting Kansas City on Sunday -- much to the chagrin of general manager Paul McDonough.

"We are incredibly disappointed with this recent development for Kaka and for our fans," McDonough said in a statement.

"He has played 25 games for us so far this season, over 2,100 minutes, without any major issues or concerns. To the contrary, he undergoes one training session and match with the Brazilian national team and he is injured."

Teams are obligated to release players on official FIFA dates, though unlike most top leagues around the world, Major League Soccer does not stop their league schedule. Without Kaka, Orlando lost 3-0 to New England on Saturday.

Kaka's injury is just the latest setback for Orlando City stemming from international duty this season, and McDonough had strong words against the FIFA mandate to release his players.

"International call-ups have been a challenge for us, as we are also evaluating an injured Darwin Ceren following his participation with El Salvador," McDonough said.

"It's the same thing we faced with Brek Shea earlier in the year after he returned from play with the U.S. national team.

"Unfortunately, we are obliged to release these players according to FIFA rules, and then are left to deal with the fallout after the fact. Again, I am very disappointed for our fans and for our injured players."

Shea needed hernia surgery in July after returning from playing with the U.S. in Europe, while midfielder Ceren was hurt this week while playing for El Salvador.

Ceren was injured in Friday's World Cup qualifier against Curacao, and Orlando City also expressed frustration at not learning anything about the injury until the player returned.