RFK, it is the butt of jokes around MLS. A decrepit facility originally designed as a utilitarian multi-use stadium that originally housed football and baseball, but has been the home of D.C. United since the inaugural season of 1996, and a true house of horrors for Columbus Crew SC.
The series between Crew SC and D.C. United is tight with D.C. holding a 25 to 24 edge in wins during the regular season. When the series shifts to Washington, Columbus has found it extremely hard to win. Crew SC are an incredibly poor 9-21-8 in the nation's capital including the regular season, playoffs, and Open Cup. That includes a positive run of 5-4-2 since 2008. It's those early seasons that haunt long time Crew SC fan memories.
May 15th, 1996 (Crew SC lose 5-2) - You have to start somewhere and seven games into franchise history, they notch loss number one in RFK.
October 12th, 1997 (Crew SC lose 3-2) - The first of the good Crew SC teams that ran into Bruce Arena's buzzsaw in the playoffs. Columbus struggled to a 0-2-1 record at RFK in the 1997 season, but the playoff loss forced Crew SC to go for the win the following week at Ohio Stadium. They lost that too... season over.
October 11th, 1998 (Crew SC lose 2-0) - Early MLS was weird. Columbus and D.C. faced off in a best of three series in the playoffs with two games coming at RFK. The two goal loss put the Black and Gold into a difficult position heading to Ohio Stadium, needing a big win. They got it with a 4-2 victory.
October 21st, 1998 (Crew SC lose 3-0) - The series tied with a chance to get past Crew SC's most heated rival? A demoralizing 3-0 loss. United shut down the high powered Columbus attack lead by Brian McBride, Stern John, and Jeff Cunningham. Season over... again.
November 13th, 1999 (Crew SC lose 4-0) - The third game of the series with D.C. winning the first at RFK and Crew SC winning 5-1 at Crew Stadium, winner goes on. McBride, John, and Cunningham started and played 90 minutes. Three of the top attackers in late 90's MLS were shut out, and for the third straight year D.C. United ended Crew SC's season with a ruthless playoff performance.
October 19th, 2003 (Crew SC win 3-2) - Columbus struggled through the 2003 season, but was still within reaching distance of United with a late season trip to RFK. A win was vital to the Black and Gold's postseason hopes. They pulled out an overtime win with a 100th minute McBride goal after a 90th minute penalty got them to the extra time. It was a pyrrhic victory as D.C. secured the result they needed the following week and finished a point even though they won out.
April 17th, 2008 (Crew SC win 2-1) - The 2008 team of course won MLS Cup and had the best record in the league, but it was an early season win at RFK that set the tone for the season. Columbus had struggled mightily at RFK and the early season matchup against D.C. was supposed to be a real test. Crew SC came out strong, without any of the baggage of prior teams. They eased to a 2-1 win and surged through the regular season and captured the cup. That early season road win was the first indication this team was for real.
March 8th, 2014 (Crew SC win 3-0) - The beginning of a new era, the Berhalter era. Columbus came out strong and never looked back in beating the worst team in the league of 2013. United would improve through the year and captured the Eastern Conference.
For the first time in years, both teams are on the ascendency... setting the stage for another series of battles between an ancient and long dormant rivalry.