D.C. UNITED has won just one regular-season MLS game. Yet, the Union isn't taking the Black-and-Red for granted as it prepares for tonight's fourth-round game in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md.
"I expect this game to be tough," Union manager John Hackworth said. "I think it's going to be a hard game and a very emotional game. D.C. will put everything they have into winning the game and we will need to match or exceed everything they do."
D.C. United earned its way into the match by defeating the Richmond Kickers, 4-2, on penalty kicks after a scoreless stalemate on May 28.
The Union advanced with a 2-1 victory over Ocean City just minutes before the end of D.C. United's match the same evening. In regular-season play, D.C. United is 1-10-3, with its only win coming against Real Salt Lake on March 9.
This is the third straight year that these teams have met in the U.S. Open Cup, with each team winning once.
The Union was 6-5-4 during the regular season, including a 4-3 win over D.C. on April 21 at RFK Stadium. In two February preseason matches, the teams played to a 1-1 draw and D.C. United defeated the Union, 2-0.
D.C. is coming off Saturday's 0-0 tie to the New England Revolution. The Union is coming off a 2-0 win in a friendly over Reading United on Friday.
In seven all-time regular-season meetings between the teams, there have been 166 fouls, 22 yellow cards and 10 red cards.
Hackworth said he is surprised by the level of physical play between the squads.
"I can't figure out why our teams are getting so emotionally charged against each other," Hackworth said. "This rivalry is real and that's what it comes down to, whether it is preseason, regular season or an Open Cup meeting, it is always going to be feisty when we are playing."
The winner of tonight's match will advance to the quarterfinals on June 26.