What are sports without rivalries? They inflame the passions of supporters, make losses hurt more, and the victories taste even sweeter. Orlando City SC has one season in the books, and there are certainly some candidates for budding rivalries. Let's take a look at the front runners and see who tops the list. Oh, and you'll get to vote for your favorite team to hate.
Columbus Crew SC
OCSC record against: 2-1-1
April 18 (3-0 L)
The first match between the two Eastern Conference foes was a 3-0 drubbing that was also Orlando City's first road loss. The match was chippy, and when Rafael Ramos was ejected in the 34th minute it almost ended up in an altercation. Ramos was disinclined to leave the field, and several of the Crew players gathered around to express their displeasure at his studs up challenge. This meant that Orlando would play the remainder of the match a man down. Kei Kamara was particularly "spirited" during the match with an assist, a goal, and plenty of attitude.
May 30 (2-2 T)
In the second match, it was Columbus that played a man down for much of the game. Despite the disadvantage, Columbus nursed a 2-1 lead thanks to Kei Kamara's 10th goal of the season. Pedro Ribeiro would save the day for Orlando City, scoring in the 89th minute to keep a point for the home team.
June 30 (2-0 W)
Orlando City finally beat the Crew in a U.S. Open Cup match. However, Columbus was not at full strength; in particular, Kamara was not in the lineup. But a win is a win.
Aug. 1 (5-2 W)
Saving the best for last, Orlando City would dominate its last match against Crew SC, 5-2. Cyle Larin scored a brace to tie the MLS rookie season scoring record. Darwin Ceren, Cristian Higuita, and Aurelien Collin all scored for the Lions. Collin also scored an own goal, but we all make mistakes. This match was between two squads at full strength, and the Lions simply overwhelmed their...rival?
New York City FC
OCSC record against: 1-1-1
March 8 (1-1 T)
This was the first match for the fellow expansion sides and neither was able to come away with a win. Mix Diskerud did have NYCFC ready to take all three points with his goal in the 75th minute, however a Kaká free kick evened the score at the start of stoppage time.
July 26 (5-3 L)
The second match was a 5-3 loss barn burner. Cyle Larin led all scorers with a hat trick for Orlando. Despite that excellent performance, David Villa scored a brace, while Javier Calle, Tommy McNamara, and Diskerud all contributed to take three points from OCSC.
Oct. 16 (2-1 W)
Coming down the wire, Orlando City was fighting for a playoff spot and to finish better than its fellow expansion side. The second to last regular season match would have OCSC accomplish two of those three goals. Soon to be Rookie of the Year, Larin scored a brace, taking his goal total against NYCFC to five. It would be enough for the Lions to win their fifth match in a row and keep their playoff hopes on life support. One win, one loss, and one draw. Plus, I imagine NYCFC is a little steamed that Orlando City finished the season one spot above. That's the kind of thing from which rivalries emerge.
New York Red Bulls
OCSC record against: 1-1-0
July 19 (2-0 L)
Any time Inchy gets sent off from the sidelines, you know things are heated. In the first match-up with the New York Red Bulls, Orlando City earned another questionable red card -- which was rescinded the following week by MLS -- and played a man down for much of the game. Despite losing 2-0, the Lions played an attacking style that unfortunately didn't lead to goals.
Sept. 25 (5-2 W)
Orlando City got a second chance at the top-of-the-table Red Bulls, and this time, the Lions would make it count. The 5-2 win was one of the five in a row that OCSC rolled off at the end of the season. Larin scored another hat trick to set the MLS rookie scoring record. When you're the kings of the East, you don't like getting schooled by the new kid -- especially in your own house. And with Orlando City building for longevity, these match-ups could become more intense as the years go on.
OCSC record against: 1-2-0
April 3 (1-0 L)
Heartbreak inspires passion, and as we said, passion is what fuels rivalries. While still looking for their first home win of the inaugural season, the Lions were defeated in the 91st minute on a free kick from Luis Silva. It was a back-and-forth match, with each team having multiple opportunities. But losing in stoppage time...that stays with you.
May 13 (2-1 L)
Larin scored in the 11th minute to give Orlando City a 1-0 lead against their Eastern Conference opponent. The Lions held onto that lead until Aurelien Collin left with a hamstring injury, which was almost immediately followed by a 70th-minute equalizer from Kofi Opare. D.C. then took the lead on a 79th minute from Chris Rolfe. While it wasn't a stoppage time goal, losing a lead in such short order isn't fun either.
June 14 (1-0 W)
Orlando City would finally get one back from D.C. United thanks to a goal from Kaká. The Lions showed a lot of resolve against a team that had defeated them twice, holding off a determined second half attack from D.C. United. While the results this time were better, Orlando City is still one back in the win column, and that's the type of stat that matters in rivalries.
OCSC record against: 1-1-1
March 28 (2-2 T)
Montreal jumped out to a quick lead, scoring in the 14th and 27th minutes to go up 2-0. Orlando City, meanwhile, was dealing with injuries and international call-ups. Fortunately, Kaká and Pedro Ribeiro were able to equalize in short order, scoring in the 29th and 30th minutes.
June 20 (2-0 L)
Orlando City was definitely off in this 2-0 loss to the Montreal Impact. Despite several chances, the Lions couldn't seem to find the back of the net. Anytime you lose it's tough, but 2-0 is hard to take.
Oct. 3 (2-1 W)
Chasing a playoff spot, and trailing the Montreal Impact in the standings, the Lions needed a win against their Eastern Conference opponents. They would get it, thanks to a Seb Hines goal in the 80th minute. It would keep the playoff hopes alive for another week; however, by season's end it would be the Impact heading to the playoffs and Orlando City staying at home. Next year, I'd like to see that result reversed.
So, what do you think Mane Landers? Which of these do you feel are Orlando City's greatest rival so far? Feel free to comment if you want to nominate another team.