The Major League Soccer outfit grabbed the only goal of a lively friendly on the half-hour after Ben Olsen managed to find a way past Ledley King and Christian Ziege before cutting the ball back to Bulgarian World Cup star Hristo Stoichkov, whose close-range shot flicked off Stephen Carr to leave Kasey Keller stranded.
The good news saw Ziege make his first start since Boxing Day and come through 67 minutes of action and Jamie Redknapp get another game under his belt following his lengthy absence.
Milenko Acimovic also started as Goran Bunjevcevic tucked into a back three while DC lined-up with former Sheffield Wednesday and Derby midfielder John Harkes and Bulgarian World Cup star Hristo Stoitchkov.
Robbie Keane and Teddy Sheringham fired in early shots but DC's wonderkid Bobby Convey missed what turned out to be the chance of the half when he dinked the ball wide from six yards after 10 minutes.
Keane tested Nick Rimando in the DC goal from a tight angle from Milenko Acimovic's threaded pass and Convey, lively and a threat, almost burst through again only to run into Perry.
The home side made the breakthrough on the half-hour. Ben Olsen somehow squirmed away from Ziege and Ledley King, picked out Stoitchkov and his shot deflected off Stephen Carr to leave Kasey Keller helpless.
Covney went close again before our best spell before the break.
In the space of four minutes, Sheringham had a goal ruled out for offside, Redknapp beat Rimando to Acimovic's pass only to poke the ball wide, Redknapp was then upended in the box but appeals for a penalty were waved away and Keane's strike was gathered well by Rimando.
We made three changes at half-time with Mauricio Taricco, Simon Davies, Gus Poyet and Dean Marney on for Redknapp, Bunjevcevic, Carr and Acimovic.
Substitutions inevitably affected the flow of the game in the second half as we somehow failed to level the scores.
Ziege dragged his shot wide after a one-two with Keane and the Irish striker will only himself know how he missed the target from 10 yards after the ball broke kindly to him in the box on the hour.
The athletic Rimando flew to his left to to pluck a Davies snapshot out of the air before Keane's burst into the box was halted by Nelsen's tackle.
The next 15 minutes were quiet until King's flick from Acimovic's header sailed just wide.
Rimando was there again with the save of the game to tip Acimovic's free-kick over and despite being camped in DC's half for the last few minutes, the home side held on.
MINUTE BY MINUTE
2mins: First effort at goal from Keane, 25 yards, straight at Rimando.
5mins: Ziege volleyed pass killed in an instant by Keane for Sheringham to fire a yard over from 20 yards.
10mins: CHANCE. Convey one-two with Quaranta, through on Keller but clipped the ball into side netting at an angle from six yards.
15mins: Acimovic attempted dipping volley from 25 yards always too high.
19mins: CHANCE. Slide-rule pass from Acimovic released Keane, tight angle, attempted early strike but Rimando had angles covered.
23mins: Convey threatened to break through again but ran into Perry.
30mins: GOAL. Olsen broke away from Ziege and King, picked out Stoitchkov from byline, his attempted shot from eight yards deflected off Carr to leave Keller helpless. 0-1.
37mins: CHANCE. Quick DC break from our possession, Etcheverry played in onrushing
Convey who couldn't keep difficult first-time shot on target.
39mins: DISALLOWED. Ziege quick free-kick buried by Sheringham but ruled offside.
41mins: CHANCE. King into Acimovic who picked out Redknapp's run into the box, beat Rimando to the ball but stabbed it wide from 12 yards.
42mins: PENALTY? Redknapp upended by Nelsen but referee waved away appeals.
43mins: SAVE. Acimovic and Redknapp involved before Keane's low strike from 20 yards was well gathered by Rimando.
Half-time: DC United 1-0 Spurs
48mins: CLOSE. Stoitchkov run and shot from left corner of box inches over but always covered by Keller.
53mins: Ziege one-two with Keane but dragged shot wide.
56mins: CHANCE. Pinpoint Ziege cross picked out Sheringham at far post but headed straight at Rimando.
61mins: MISS. Ball broke kindly to Keane, had time to compose himself but missed the target from 10 yards
63mins: SAVE. Rimando at full stretch to cling onto Davies strike.
65mins: Keane denied by last-ditch Nelsen tackle.
80mins: CLOSE. King flick header from Acimovic's free-kick sailed two yards wide.
85mins: SAVE. Save of the game from Rimando to tip over Acimovic free-kick.
Line-ups: DC United: Rimando, Ivanov (Prideaux, 61), Nelsen, Petke, Olsen (Alegria, 61), Etcheverry, Kovalenko, Harkes (Namoff, 78), Convey (Quintanilla, 67), Quaranta (Stewart, 45), Stoitchkov (Curtis, 67). Subs: Baumstark.
Spurs: Keller, Carr (Marney, 45), King, Bunjevcevic (Taricco, 45), Perry, Ziege (Bunjevcevic back on, 67), Acimovic (Davies, 45), Redknapp (Poyet, 45), Toda, Keane (Barnard, 78), Sheringham (Acimovic back on, 78). Unused sub: Burch.
DC United took the honours in the Capital Cup thanks to a fortuitous own goal at the RFK Stadium on Wednesday night.