Our City: The State of Our In-State Rivalries

As a relatively young club, our search for in-state (and regional) rivalries has been a slow process. Our time in USL Pro provided no real regional foes to stir the imagination. Wilmington and Charleston were good rivals on the field, but too far away to create anything significant. A lot of respect goes to the supporters that made that long drive a few times. VSI Tampa Bay FC had a one-year run in USL Pro, long enough to prove Plant City isn’t ready for minor league soccer.

Major League Soccer has made rivalries a cornerstone of its MLS 2.0 reboot. Understanding international footballing culture provides multiple blueprints for some of the most heated rivalries in the sports world. Galatasaray vs. Fenerbahce, Celtic FC vs. Rangers, West Ham vs. Milwall—these are the kinds of games that supporters live for and local police forces train for.

MLS has done its best to recreate a North London Derby with teams scattered across the expanses of the American landscape. Portland vs. Seattle, two clubs with long legacies dating back to the NASL, easily comes to mind, but Dallas vs. Houston, San Jose vs. LA Galaxy, and DC United vs. New York Red Bulls have all cultivated passionate rivalries over the years.

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Report: MLS Playoffs to Expand to 12 Teams

Not that it’ll be easy, but Orlando City’s route to the playoffs may have just gotten a teeny bit less difficult. According to a Sports Illustrated report, MLS is going to increase the number of playoff teams in 2015 from the current 10 to 12. The number of knockout games will grow from two to four, according to the report.

Starting next season, the third-place team in each conference will host the sixth seed in one single-elimination game while No. 4 hosts No. 5 in the other. The four conference semifinalists then will be reseeded to ensure the first-place finisher faces off against the lowest-ranked knockout round survivor. The bracket will look like the one used in the NFL since 1990.

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Orlando City’s Appeal in the U.K.

To say that Orlando City’s brand has grown outside of just Orlando could be quite the understatement. One of the main goals for the front office of the club was to market itself to tourists, especially those from Brazil. After all, the Lions brought in arguably one of the most recognized names in Brazilian soccer, Kaká, to help with their marketing to tourists from South America.

With all of this talk about the Brazilian marketing, the tourists from England have been more of an afterthought in recent times. I’m going to share a story from this past summer that will show that even though there are a lot of Orlando City fans from Brazil, there are also many who follow the Lions from across the pond.

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Louisville City: Does Louisville Have the Chops for MLS?

I listen to Louisville’s local ESPN radio affiliate nearly every day. I listen to John Ramsey and Drew Deener in the morning on my way to work and school, and to Jason Anderson, Andy Sweeney, and Bob Valvano (the brother of the late Jimmy V) on my late afternoon rides home. They’re an enjoyable group of guys to listen to. They talk sports in a reasonable and entertaining way, bereft of much of the cliched gimmickry that sports talk radio often loathfully leans on.

They talk college football and basketball mostly, and not terribly much else. This is Louisville, after all, the self-proclaimed “Best College Sports Town in America.” It’s not something they really need to defend, frankly. They know their audience.

You know what I’ve never heard them talk about? Soccer.

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MLS Conference Championships: Second Leg Predictions

If you can believe it, there are just two weekends left in the 2014 MLS season.  In nine days time, two teams will square off for 90 minutes to determine a champion.

Of course, DeAndre Yedlin would have you believe that the Seattle Sounders’ regular season crown holds more weight. However, it’s impossible to deny the role of ‘playoffs’ and ‘championships’ in the American sports zeitgeist.

This is the weekend to decide who will play for the MLS Cup, as the for remaining squads will meet in the second leg of their home and away series to decide the conference champions. Continue reading MLS Conference Championships: Second Leg Predictions

Don’t have an MLS team yet? Why not Orlando City?

This summer’s World Cup has undoubtably recruited a great deal of new Americans to the sport of soccer, many of which do not have a team to call their own. An abundance of these soccer hungry fans were recruited by the USMNT’s dramatic tournament, so they have an understandable interest in our domestic league. Those fortunate enough to live in a city or state with an MLS team have an easy decision on who to support and can make the natural choice of their local club.

What about those who aren’t so lucky?

These poor unfortunate souls are left with no team at which to aim their newly discovered passion, no group to get behind, and no real reason to continue following each week. After all, isn’t the point of sports to get emotionally invested, bleed your team’s colors, and support your club through thick and thin? Continue reading Don’t have an MLS team yet? Why not Orlando City?

Orlando City Fans Have Plenty to be Thankful for

First of all, we at The Mane Land would like to wish our readers a very happy Thanksgiving. We’re pretty sure the pilgrims accidentally invented soccer when some oaf accidentally knocked the turkey onto the floor and then kicked it when he bent over to try to pick it up. This, of course, led to a diving save by a Native American, who kept the turkey from rolling into the fireplace.

The world’s most popular sport was born.

In addition to all of the usual things in your personal life, there are many things to be thankful for as an Orlando City fan this year, and there have never been more. With that in mind, we thought we’d give you a reminder of the top things Lions fans should be thankful for as we near the end of 2014.

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