From 1988 to 2013, Hoover Metropolitan Stadium was the home of the Birmingham Barons, a minor-league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. But in 2012, the baseball facility played host to the College Cup.

One of the goals was stationed in front of the right-field wall, while another was placed in front of the third-base line seats. And though it was played on turf meant for another sport, the Terrapins men’s soccer team’s loss to Georgetown on Dec. 7, 2012 in Hoover, Alabama in the semifinals of that year’s NCAA tournament was a contest coach Sasho Cirovski called “a game for the ages.”

Tonight, the rivals will clash for the first time since that contest ended with the Terps falling in penalty kicks. And the Terps are motivated to exact revenge on the No. 11 Hoyas in a crucial nonconference match in the more soccer-friendly confines of Ludwig Field.

“The loss, of course, it’s in my head,” said defender Mikey Ambrose, who was a freshman in 2012. “We have a lot of friends on that team, but once the whistle blows, there’s no real friendship anymore. It’s just plain competitiveness.”

One of Ambrose’s friendships may come in handy for the Terps. In 2013, Ambrose and Hoyas forward Brandon Allen, who is tied for fifth in the nation with seven goals, were teammates on the U-20 U.S. national team and played against each other in academy ball for three years.

So when Ambrose and the rest of the Terps backline, which has notched two consecutive shutouts, take the field tonight, Ambrose said he’ll try to utilize his familiarity with Allen to his advantage.

“He’s a target forward,” Ambrose said. “He holds the ball. He’s like a poacher in the box. We all know him really well, so we’ll be prepared.”

Allen and the Hoyas went on to lose to Indiana, 1-0, in the 2012 national final, but their semifinals matchup against the Terps ­— in which the teams combined to score eight goals ­— remains one of college soccer’s most memorable contests in recent history.

“A lot of people who have been around the game will tell you that was probably the most fascinating College Cup — semi or final — that they’ve ever seen,” Cirovski said. “People are still talking about that game, people with great knowledge of history of the college game.”

So with that mind, the Terps are eager to upend this year’s Hoyas. Georgetown has compiled a 5-1-3 record thus far and has outscored opponents 15-6.

“Georgetown is a top-four team,” Cirovski said. “We’re certainly better than our nonranking. To me, these are two of the better teams in the country.”

The Terps, meanwhile, haven’t developed consistency with their forwards and have played in several low-scoring affairs this year. Midfielders Michael Sauers and Dan Metzger lead the Terps with two goals each.

Both players scored in the Terps’ 2-0 win over Wisconsin on Friday, which made for the team’s first winning streak of the season.

“Anytime you get some wins, you increase your confidence,” Cirovski said. “We’re creating more chances. I can see the benefits of our tough schedule already.”

Before tonight’s game begins, Georgetown coach Brian Wiese’s 13-year-old daughter, Morgan, will get to try out the Terps’ training facility for a practice session. It’s a testament to the respectful ties between the two programs.

But the mutual respect is a product of the programs’ understanding of each other’s prominent places in the national soccer landscape. Cirovski and Wiese learned that firsthand on a chilly fall night in Alabama, when one of the craziest games in college soccer history was played on a baseball field.

“There was a lot of tears shed after that game,” Cirovski said. “But we’ve moved on. We took that as motivation, and we got back to the College Cup final last year, and I was proud of our team. We got one step closer. We’re a team that’s still a work in progress, but I still believe in this team, that great things are going to come out of it, and it needs to start tomorrow.”