Over the last few months the Tampa Bay Rowdies, currently a USL soccer team, has been making the push to become the second MLS team in Florida. Which from a sport standpoint, expanding the sport is always great, yet there is something about the I4 rivalry/connection, that shows the Tampa Bay Rowdies will never live up to what the Orlando City Soccer Club has established within their first three years.
Primarily speaking from someone who lives directly between Orlando and Tampa FL, establishing a rivalry like this would just be asinine.
Mainly because in those two cities, they do not have opposing teams in any major sport category. Orlando has MLS and NBA, while Tampa has NFL, MLB, and NHL. Creating a rivalry so close to each other, is not smart for business, and it unfortunately because of the fair weather fans that have shown themselves in social media today.
With that being said, IF the Tampa Bay Rowdies were granted an expansion team in the MLS, attempting to recreate what Orlando has done in their first three years is a great feat to ask for.
Orlando has achieved the second highest attendance rating for three years in a row in the MLS, only behind the defending MLS champion Seattle Sounders, Orlando has recently built a privately funded stadium that is a beautiful piece of soccer art, and Orlando has had some of the biggest named players to ever play the game play for OCSC.
When the Tampa Bay Rowdies speak of MLS and everything they need to accomplish, they first have to go through Orlando, who has set the standard so high for expansion teams, that the Rowdies will be need all the luck they can get.
What other expansion teams are you looking forward to seeing in the MLS, and who do you think could be the most successful and the least successful in the MLS?