Rivals in sports arise from any number of different things. Rivalries that arise due to geographic location may be one of the simplest ones, but can also be the most hated of foes. Top teams that constantly battle each other for championships or division titles can lead to the old adage of familiarity breeding contempt. Somewhere in the same vein of familiar contempt, hatred for another team can easily spring up from a dislike of the players they employ be it because they are cheating divers or because they always score on your team. Rival coaches can start a trickle down effect that translates to the players and fans.
Who will be the Dash's rival? Every team needs to have one.
The closest to a classic geographical rival for the team would be FC Kansas City. Yet at over 720 miles away it would take over 11 hours to drive there which it a little far for a night run to their stadium. Four of the other teams are concentrated in the Northeast, two are in the Pacific Northwest and then there is the Chicago Red Stars.
The team Houston has the most in common with may be the best one for them to hate, the Portland Thorns. The team is owned by Merritt Paulson also the owner of the Portland Timbers who, like the Dash's sister team the Houston Dynamo, play in MLS. The front office is the same for both teams and they share a stadium. In fact it was the blueprint that Houston used while moving forward with their NWSL team. During the infancy stages of the Dash, Paulson bought season tickets during the Dash's season ticket drive while trying to make the team happen. No word yet on if Paulson will be using those ticket(s) during the season.
The two teams have already traded players. Houston had acquired Meleana Shim during the Expansion Draft from Portland, but during the college draft they traded her back to Portland for Nikki Washington and a second round draft pick. Speaking of Portland players they have Alex Morgan who a number of Houston fans would give their right leg for and probably their left legs as well.
If you aren't a Thorns fan then chances are you hate them. They are just THAT team in the league and if social media is any indication the Dash have been put on notice they will be joining the Thorns as a hated team. The privileged sisters of MLS teams. And just to make sure things get off on the right foot the two teams will be facing each other opening day at BBVA Compass Stadium.
By the end of the season who do you think will be the Dash's top rival?