The 21st franchise in MLS when they joined the league in 2015, Orlando City SC has a strong following thanks to their location and – if we are honest – their sweet uniforms. Their obvious rivalry is with Inter Miami CF, as the two are the only Florida clubs currently competing at North America’s top soccer level. The two meet at Exploria Stadium in Orlando on Sunday, September 24, in what should be an intense and entertaining match. Another developing rivalry for Orlando City is with Atlanta United – again because of geographical factors – and their game this season is on Saturday, May 27.
Here is the biggest question for Orlando City based on their start to the 2023 season.
Will the South American experiment work?
In their match against Minnesota United last weekend – a match they came from behind to win 2-1 – the Lions became the first team in MLS history to start with 10 South Americans on the pitch. The makeup of the team saw four Argentinians, three from Uruguay, and one player each from Colombia, Brazil, and Peru. MLS has continued to build as a league, attracting young and hungry South American talent that can use the league as a showcase for potential big-money moves to Europe.
This squad’s uniqueness- specifically the starting lineup – means we have no way to gauge how this will work. If it goes to plan, Orlando City will compete at the sharp end of the season. If not, they will fade into irrelevance in the East as nothing more than a nice story.