The Philadelphia Union announced yesterday that they will be playing D.C. United as part of Heineken Rivalry Week. The match will be nationally televised on UniMás Friday, May 20th - one of only a handful of nationally televised appearances for the Union. As part of this, "Supporters can choose from #I95CUP, #CAPITALCUP, #FREEDOMCUP or #COLONIALCUP. The voting begins May 4 and will conclude on May 6." Of course, there were some pretty funny suggestions for other hashtags for this rivalry matchup:
Something is different about the rivalry with United. To me, it's always seemed like a friendly rivalry. That's not to say that it hasn't been without some animosity both on and off the pitch - I remember being in the upper bowl in RFK in 2011 when Talon (United's eagle mascot) came up to the section where the away support was, started taunting the Philadelphia fans (and would not leave), prompting one person to grab the security guard and tell him "If that stupid fucking chicken doesn't get out of here immediately he's gonna get tossed back down into the D.C. supporters below." Good times, good times.
Things like that were few and far between though. Most of the time though the rivalry has constituted yelling insults at one another for 90 minutes (or in the case of the Open Cup qualifying match at the Soccerplex in 2011, 120 minutes plus penalties) without any of the tough-guy douchebaggery that accompanies either New York team visiting. A rivalry not built on 'ooligans swinging trash bags at one another but a mutual respect and realization that our clubs are more like brothers than enemies.
One of the best memories I have of this rivalry is when the United supporters tailgated before a match with Union supporters to honor the memory of Eric Shertz. The respect shown between the two rivals was something that I will never forget and will personally always be grateful to have been a part of, regardless of what hashtag is used.