New York Red Bull head coach Mike Petke says he was told to hate DC United from the minute he walked in the door as a player.
The 37-year old kicked off his playing career with the old MetroStars in 1998 and was told from the get-go that developing a hatred for their nearest rivals would be required.
Petke, who found himself as a DC player for a stage of his career, is preparing to host the Washington club at Red Bull Arena this weekend and is excited about continuing the rivalry from the other side of the touchline.
“For me, with the history we have had since ’98 when I was playing, when we played DC, the level always gets turned up a notch,” he told the Washington Post.
“The level should always be up no matter who you play, but the history of it — DC being one of the most successful franchises, New York has had a bit of a chip on our shoulder, which we should. Always putting an extra tackle in. The fans are all over you — they travel with a large contingent — saying some stuff. Looking back at the days of Etcheverry, Moreno, Pope, Richie Williams, John Harkes — they would always put an extra tackle in, always. Same on our side. Hatred is a strong word, but pride almost.
“If you look at a real derby around the world, teams are 10 miles apart from each other. Here, since the beginning of the league, this is our closest competitor, which is a six-hour drive [in terrible traffic, perhaps]. It’s just something deep down in your heart, in your soul that I always hated D.C. United. For what reason? Because they were our rivals. It was set in stone when I came on in ’98. You built up a hatred, you built up emotions. It has continued, whether there are 1,500 people in the crowd or 25,000. For me, it has never changed. I look around in the eyes of the players over the years, with them as well, they have learned to be a part of this rivalry.”