The Orlando City vs. CF Montreal "Rivalry?"

May 7, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; CF Montreal defender Rudy Camacho (4) plays the ball and Orlando
May 7, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; CF Montreal defender Rudy Camacho (4) plays the ball and Orlando / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Ok fine, this isn't a "rivalry." I think that's one of the most grossly overused words in the sports ecosystem anyway. But there's some kind of underlying fire in this increasingly interesting Eastern Conference series.

Based purely on numbers, this is about as close a series as you'll find, admittedly with a small sample size. In the 19 league games between the two sides, each team has eight wins (plus two draws) and Montreal holds the slight scoring edge at 30-28.

There's certainly animosity for the days of Ignacio Piatti and that era of the Montreal Impact, but frankly Orlando City was never relevant enough for those games to matter in any capacity other than "I don't like those guys very much."

Piatti's stats against Orlando City are wild, for what it's worth. The Argentine playmaker scored 10 goals in 10 games against the Lions

The really good stuff between these sides started at the MLS is Back tournament.

These two teams met in the Round of 16 and the Lions walked away with a 1-0 victory thanks to Tesho Akindele's 60th minute game-winning goal. That win sparked Orlando's eventual run to the final and helped announce Oscar Pareja's program to the national MLS scene.

Last season, these two played another instant classic. Orlando City needed a result on Decision Day, and central midfielder Sebas Mendez provided a moment that will live in Orlando soccer lore for some time to come.

This isn't going to become a sneaky rivalry. With the increasingly regional MLS schedule, Orlando's rivalries will solidify around Atlanta and Miami. But it's an interesting time when these two small market Eastern Conference foes get to face one another.

Sunday is the second do-or-die game in the series history and comfortably the biggest yet. It's also the biggest game for CF Montreal at least since Didier Drogba was scoring goals at Stade Sapputo. It will undoubtedly be a game that both fanbases remember for some time to come.