The league is young and most of the teams are spread out across the country, making it hard for rivalries to develop.
But the Maryland Bays and San Francisco Bay Blackhawks are the exception to the rule. They don't like each other and it shows every time they meet in the American Professional Soccer League, which is in its third year of play.
It all started after last season's APSL championship game at Boston University's Nickerson Field when some of the Blackhawks players said the Bays "were lucky" to win the game, 2-1, on penalty kicks.
"A couple of their players said we were lucky to win and they would beat us nine out of 10 times," said Maryland defender Joe Barger. "We can't forget that."
The "feud" continued July 6 in San Francisco in the first meeting of the season between the league's top two teams when Maryland forward Jean Harbor and San Francisco goalkeeper Mark Dougherty collided in front of the goal and Dougherty was knocked down.
That prompted San Francisco coach Laurie Calloway to scream at the officials, resulting in Calloway's ejection from the game that was won, 3-1, by the Blackhawks.
"They beat us," said Barger. "It was no big deal. They're a good team, but we had played the night before in Colorado and flew to San Francisco the morning before the game. I'm not using that as an excuse, but we had to be more tired in that game than we will be this time. We've had all week to prepare for it."
Barger and the Bays (15-2) will get a regular-season rematch with the Blackhawks (15-2) tonight at 6:05 at RFK Stadium. Despite the identical records, the Bays hold a 15-point lead over the second-place Blackhawks in the Western Conference based on the league's point system.