Monday, June 29, 2009

6/29/09: What Happened To The Columbus And DCU Rivalry?

Crew celebrate an easy win last year at season's end with their supporters against DC United. Taking the Supporters Shield from DC United earlier in the day and taking their playoff hopes away from them that night. Going into the day DC United needed a win to get into the playoffs, the Crew had already won the league. Such results, less games, better competition games against Chicago, and more traveling to Chicago and TFC has put the D.C. United rivalry temporarily on the backburner it seems. (Pic by:Sam Fahmi)

What Happened To The Columbus And DCU Rivalry?

It's been on hiatus it seems since TFC came into the league and MLS joined them up with the Chicago Fire as our 3 games a year opponents. While our lifelong rivals since 1996 D.C. United were left in the dust, having to settle with the New York Red Bulls as their only rival until the Philadelphia Union comes into the league.

However, although circumstances have kind of placed D.C. United at the orange level of hated instead of the red. Possibly the rivalry will be restored this year with a game on Saturday with first place on the line and an enticing road trip at the end of the year with playoff positioning on the line at RFK (many more Crew supporters will be making the trek this year compared to last year's midweek contest). Additionally, one thing that consistently sells tickets for the Crew is when D.C. United comes to town. Has been the case since I have been coming since 2004, you can almost set your watch to it.

Who knows why that's still the case exactly, especially since the rivalry has sort of died down. I mean, our section has had much more vitrol lately with Chicago and TFC supporters. And, MLS has even moved our club in that direction giving us one less game with D.C. and everyone else compared to Chicago and TFC. But, it seems as if a home game against D.C. United still outdraws TFC at home by far and even Chicago at home by a thousand or so. However, you can bet the Crew front office won't be complaining this week as they would like to one up the solid 15,700 crowd they had this week against NYRB.

I also think the main reason for the boon when United comes to town is the history the average Columbus resident has with D.C. United, the circle one or two games Crew fans today remember the great games with D.C. United from the 90's when the Crew were at their height of popularity. It's almost funny, you can almost start to see a generational shift. Crew supporters who have been around since the beginning always talk about D.C. United as their most hated rival. While everyone from 2004 up to 2006 seems to pick Chicago and those even newer seem to select Chicago or even with more regularity recently TFC.

I even hated D.C. United the most along with Chicago from 2004 to 2006 before TFC came on the scene, then it's been sort of Chicago and TFC. One reason probably is a lack of away experiences at D.C. in the last two years, except the 20 of us that went on a Thursday early in 2008.

I guess who one dislikes most depends on your own personal experiences and who has scorned you the most. :-) The great games with Chicago have increased that rivalry for some. The invasion by TFC fans have increased that rivalry for others. The road trip of over 300 Crew fans to Chicago has increased that rivalry for some. The three road trips to Toronto in the last year and a half of a hundred each has done it for others. Being suckered punched by Chicago fans has increased that rivalry for some. Getting your hair torn or being ambushed by TFC fans up at BMO has done it for others. Hasn't been much of that with D.C. United lately.

And, it's interesting how we have had less experiences with United lately. Almost feels like we haven't really played them in 3 years. I can remember really hating when their supporters came to town, I haven't felt that way since the crazyiness with them back in 2007. When swearing matches broke out during a rain delay between supporters and even more sadly reportedly someone pulled a gun out in the parking lot although cooler heads prevailed thankfully and no one was injured. And, I almost can't remember a good contest with them since 2006. Yes, it was nice beating up on them in 2008 in our two games, but in neither game was DC United much of a contestant. In the Crew's last matchup with them on the last game of the year, the Crew already secured the Supporters Shield and still dusted easily a DC United that needed a win to reach the playoffs.

Instead, Chicago has had the perfect games and probably fan rivalry with us last year. TFC has just brought alot of annoying fans while not being much competition.

Anyways, hopefully DC brings alot of fans and it turns into a hell of a game. I rather have them as a rival then TFC, hands down, anyday.

1 comment:

  1. Allow me to enlighten as to why DC will ALWAYS will at hate level red for old school Crew fans.

    Until last year's squad, the 1999 Crew was far and away the Crew's best (I know all about the 2003 squad, but they only won 12 games, we won 19 in 99).
    It was led by Stern John and Brian Mcbride, who were far and away the top strike pair of MLS' first decade, our current head coach as its midfeild maestro and our current assistant coach (Mike Lapper) as one of its defensive rocks. It was a team that played attrachtive football (by early MLS standards) and it was the team that got to play in the first soccer specific stadium.
    The problem: Bruce Arena. To this day, Arena's name is hated in Cbus, because he always managed to have DC finsish just a notch higher.
    Such was the case in the 1998 playoffs and such was the case again in 1999 when, after the Crew smashed DC 5-1 at home to even the Eastern Conference Finals at 1 game apeice, DC laid a 4-0 spot on us to win the series the next week. (It was a best of three series in those days).
    Playoff emnity dies hard. I guarantee it will get ratcheted up again if/when we meet again in the playoffs.

    As a personal aside, another reason I hate DC is simple: a small core of their fans are complete a**holes. Sorry, but spiting on me when I'm strapped to a stretcher earns undying hatred.