1. This will be the first time in D.C. United history that the club will play a competitive match in Suburban Virginia.
For the past several years, the Germantown Soccerplex has been the home-away-from-home for United, which was a little inconvenient for the large fan base from Northern Virginia. On Wednesday the game will be played on the campus of George Mason University, and it is an excellent chance for United fans south of the Potomac to watch their favorite club play in their own backyard.
2. It's going to be a very competitive match.
The Richmond Kickers live in the shadow of D.C. United. Even though the teams' stadiums are only about 115 miles apart, the difference between the clubs is far greater. The Richmond players enter the match with a chip on their shoulders, and a true desire to win. The three previous meetings in the U.S. Open Cup have all been tough ones for United, especially Richmond's 2-1 win in 2004.
3. The Red Bulls are on the horizon.
If D.C. United wins on Wednesday, and if New York beats the Harrisburg City Islanders, then D.C. and NY will meet in the quarterfinals. The teams already played once earlier this season, and the Red Bulls gave D.C. their worst home loss in the series history. New York also knocked United out of the Open Cup in 2003. If the MLS teams hold serve, the quarterfinals could be a nice emotional chapter in the history of the best rivals in MLS. Step one is getting past the round of 16.
4. The fight for a trophy.
There is a long way to go for United to salvage their regular season. There is still time, but a lot has to go right for D.C. over the next months. As for the U.S. Open Cup, United is just three matches away from playing in their third straight final. Anytime a trophy is on the line, United is prepared to be at their best, and in a season where very little has gone right in the nation's capital, there is still a real opportunity to add more hardware to the trophy case at R.F.K. Stadium.
5. Jaime Moreno's last hurrah?
I don't know what Jaime Moreno's plans are for next season. I imagine at this point he doesn't know either. There is a chance though, that Jaime is suiting up for the U.S. Open Cup for the final time in his career with D.C. Every time Jaime takes the field, it is possible that his next goal will be his last. I doubt anyone thought at the time that Ben Olsen's stoppage time equalizer against New England was going to be his last, but that's what happened. If Jaime takes the field on Wednesday, he might score his last goal. For a D.C. United fan, that is reason enough to be in attendance on Wednesday evening.
D.C. United vs Richmond Kickers
Wednesday, June 30 - 7:30 PM
George Mason University Stadium