4. Miami vs. Orlando
In the modern MLS era of constant expansion, rivalries are bound to form. Some take hold quickly, like the Hudson River Derby and El Trafico. Others, like Orlando-Atlanta (Orlando has yet to win across all competitions) and Minnesota-Kansas City (is the ‘Nicest Rivalry in Sports’ even real?), have taken much longer to gain any attraction. With that being said, all eyes will be on this new Florida rivalry with Miami entering the league in 2020.
July 10 marks the first ‘rivalry’ match between these Florida clubs. Hell is Real, the rivalry between Cincinnati and Columbus, was exciting last season from the get-go. Can it happen again this year in Florida between Inter Miami and Orlando City?
All eyes are on Miami for both exciting and skeptical reasons. Anything David Beckham touches in relation to MLS is going to gain attention, so naturally, with his stake in ownership in Miami, people all over the world will be watching how their inaugural season unfolds. Will people continue to watch if they lose to Orlando, a team that has yet to make the playoffs in five seasons? Plus, not having a coach announced yet as of writing in mid-December is cause for skepticism. Will that have an effect on any sort of rivalry with Orlando?
On the flip side, Orlando have a real chance to change the narrative surrounding their club thanks to the hiring of Oscar Pareja. After a year-long stint in Liga MX, Pareja is back managing in MLS. He has a daunting task ahead of him, but beating Miami would go a long way in winning over fans and showing significant progress with his new team.
August 20 will be these teams’ second match up as part of Heineken Rivalry Week. By then, these clubs will have a somewhat clear picture of where they stand in the race for the playoffs. This match could be a significant factor in that race.