D.C. United and the Columbus Crew represent two of Major League Soccer's most historic clubs. Both are founding members of the United States' top-flight soccer league, helping launch MLS more than two decades ago. Since 1996, United have faced the Crew 66 times during the regular season, scoring 89 goals and adding 83 assists against their Columbus foes.
With so much history between the founding sides, take a look back at some of the biggest moments between the Black-and-Red and the Crew since 1996.
Inaugural season meetings
D.C. United and the Crew first came to blows on April 13, 1996, when Columbus handed United a lopsided 4-0 defeat in Ohio. The Black-and-Red got their revenge a month later, though, returning to Ohio to beat Columbus 5-2 and making club history in the process. United forward Steve Rammel recorded the league's first-ever hat trick with goals in the 28th minute, 49th minute and 58th minute of the contest. United defeated the Crew again in July in the sides' first meeting in D.C., but Columbus picked up a second victory over the Black-and-Red in August, evening the series at 2-2 in MLS' inaugural season.
1997 Eastern Conference final
In 1997, the teams met in the Eastern Conference final, with D.C. United winning the series 2-0. Tony Sanneh and Raúl Díaz Arce combined for three goals to best the Crew in game one. United's defense then held firm in game two, claiming the Eastern Conference championship with a 1-0 win. United would go on to hoist the MLS Cup that same year.
The Black-and-Red and Columbus would meet in the Eastern Conference final for the next two seasons to spur one of the East's best rivalries in MLS' early history. United defeated the Crew in both matchups and hoisted the MLS Cup once again in the 1999 season.
Moreno's 100th career goal
The Black-and-Red once again made history against the Crew in 2006. United legend Jaime Moreno scored his 100th career goal in a 5-1 rout over Columbus on May 31 at RFK Stadium. The result was the largest margin of victory for United over the Crew in team history. D.C. United would again go on to win the East that season, while the Crew finished last in conference standings.
2010 U.S. Open Cup semifinal
In 2010, United pushed through to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals, only to have their title hopes crushed by the Crew. After the match went into extra time, Columbus' Steven Lenhart was taken down in the penalty area and awarded a PK. Guillermo Barros Schelotto would step up and bury the penalty, and while United continued to threaten as they pushed for an equalizer, the Crew's defense stood strong, seeing them through to the finals with a 2-1 victory.
Lewis Neal's heroics
During the 2012 campaign, United went on a late unbeaten run in league play, and their season culminated in a do-or-die scenario for a playoff spot in their Oct. 20 match against the Columbus Crew. The matchup turned into a classic thriller in front of 19,000+ fans at RFK Stadium. The game was settled in the 91st minute when D.C. United's Hamdi Salihi played a streaking Lewis Neal through to goal for the finish. United completed the comeback, snatched all three points and secured their place in the MLS Cup playoffs once again.
The two '96 clubs rekindle their rivalry this Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, in the fourth fixture of the season for both sides. D.C. United are looking for their first win of the season after drawing against Orlando and Houston and falling in Atlanta. The Columbus Crew have enjoyed success in their first three games, compiling a 2-0-1 record, good for second in the Eastern Conference early on in the season. Tune in to NewsChannel 8 and CW Richmond at 5:30 PM on Saturday for pregame coverage.