The Joy of Playing an Expansion Team

Apr 23, 2022; Commerce City, Colorado, USA; Charlotte FC defender Christian Fuchs (22) following the
Apr 23, 2022; Commerce City, Colorado, USA; Charlotte FC defender Christian Fuchs (22) following the / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Sports are so engrained in our society that true first and historic moments feel incredibly rare. Even in Major League Soccer, a league that's only a smidge over 25 years old with rapid expansion, true first ever moments are still somewhat rare and a special moment.

Orlando plays two teams for the first ever time this season, starting on Saturday against this year's new boys Charlotte FC.

This is the matchup in the preseason I was most excited for because I have no idea quite what it will look like or feel like. What tension will there be, what will Charlotte look like, how will Orlando react to their style?

It's a genuine newness and unique experience that you only get once. Playing an expansion team is a cool occurrence.

Charlotte FC are the newest team in Major League Soccer and a unique addition to the aesthetic of MLS. Their vibrant blue and mint colors bring a fresh energy to the pallet of the league. Head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez is already one of the best coaches in the entire league, with clear and exciting principles of play.

Their roster isn't perfect, especially with issues at winger, but there are talented players from all over the world. And it's almost entirely fresh faces to the MLS scene. Charlotte has prioritized international players and that means unique players and player profiles from South American and Europe.

Orlando has never played most of the players on this roster and it's an entirely new and unique challenge. After the last two years where regionalized schedules led to a lot of fixture repetition, getting entirely fresh blood is incredibly exciting.

With Charlotte's kinda sorta not really proximity to Orlando (hey it's not that far from Atlanta and we called that close) maybe this could even develop into a secondary derby in the future. There's so much potential in playing expansion teams, because unlike every other game, this is entirely new.