NYCFC are set to face off against Orlando City's Home Opener on March 2nd for the third time in five years, and back in 2015, MLS tried framing this series as a rivalry. Also, about a month ago, I had a series of polls on my Instagram asking other than the Red Bulls, who are NYCFCs biggest rivals, so I thought I'd write an overview of the third most voted rivalry out of the 7 selected teams, NYCFC and Orlando City joined MLS in 2015. Orlando had existed in the USL for a few years prior where they were the most successful team in the then third division, winning 3 out of a possible USL Championships. NYCFC were formed when Don Garber was in talks with a former Barca representative about a potential Miami team in 2008. Then there were talks about bringing the Cosmos to MLS which fell through the cracks. The Barcelona representative had since moved to Man City, and in 2013, it was announced that NYCFC would be the 20th MLS Franchise.
March 8th, 2015, Orlando City and NYCFC met on the opening day of the season. The game was broadcasted on ESPN. The game ended 1-1, with both goals coming in the final 15 minutes of the game. The second meeting was the most dramatic. July at Yankee Stadium, NYCFC and Orlando played out to a boring first half, with NYC going into half time with a 1-0 lead. The second half erupted with goals. Javier Calle, Tommy McNamara, Mix Diskerud and David Villa all scored, but a Cyle Larin hat trick left the final score at 5-3 win for NYCFC. The final meeting of 2015 was huge. Orlando had to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. What happened? Orlando came from behind to win 2-1. Orlando finished 7th in the East and 14th Overall, while NYCFC finished 8th in the East and 17th Overall.
2016 comes around, and NYCFC and Orlando meet three times again. The first meeting came at Yankee Stadium on Matchday 3, and Cyle Larin scored off his face within the opening 10 minutes to score the games only goal. Then the next meeting, NYCFC have a comfortable 2-0 lead at Yankee Stadium, but two unanswered goals by Orlando ended the game at 2-2. Finally, Jason Kreis coached his first game against NYCFC after getting fired, and Orlando ran away with a 2-1 win. That year NYCFC finished 2nd in the East and 4th Overall versus Orlando's 8th in the East and 15th Overall finish.
2017, Orlando's home opener is for their Soccer Specific Stadium was against NYCFC. The Lions won 1-0, and it looked to be the start of a great season for Orlando. NYCFC who were unbeaten for 11 straight home games dating back to 2016, hosted Orlando. Out of anyone, a Cyle Larin lead attack helped Orlando to a 2-1 win. Finally, in May of 2017, Orlando were unbeaten for six home games, notching 5 wins and a tie. NYCFC came to town, and the Boys in Blue had never won in Orlando, and had one win in eight meetings previously. Despite the record against them, NYCFC win 3-0 in a dramatic game. Orlando ended up finishing 10th in the East, and 18th Overall, while NYCFC finished 2nd in the East, and 2nd Overall.
2018 comes rolling in and NYCFC win all three meetings against Orlando, winning 7-0 within the three meetings. Orlando finished last in the East for a second straight year, and 22nd Overall. NYCFC finished 3rd in the East, 7th Overall.
This series doesn't show much animosity, and there is no bragging rights. While geographically and standings wise, it doesn't make sense. Orlando who appear desperate for a rival may want to maintain us as this OG rival, but, lets be serious, this is not a rivalry.