By The Numbers pres. by Ohio Business Machines | Crew hosts FC Cincinnati for Hell is Real Derby

Even the righteous cannot be saved from the fire and brimstone that awaits on Sunday night in the Hell is Real Derby. Was that too far? Not far enough?

Anyway, the biggest game in Ohio is back Sunday night when the Columbus Crew hosts archrival FC Cincinnati at Lower.com Field and all of us are pretty amped about it. 

Three Things to Know 

11 – Well, it’s been a minute since the Crew’s last match. Yes, there was the Leagues Cup game two weeks ago, but Sunday is the restart of the regular season, and with that, the final 11 matches of the 2023 campaign. There’s no better way to start than with a matchup with your biggest rival. Plus, don’t forget this is a new-look Crew, as a few summer signings could make their debuts. Julian Gressel joined the club from Vancouver Whitecaps FC and played during the Leagues Cup, but center backs Rudy Camacho (CF Montréal) and Yevhen Cheberko (NK Osijek) haven’t suited up for a league match. Designated Player Diego Rossi could also make his debut after joining the Crew from Turkish side Fenerbahçe. The Uruguayan international playmaker will wear No. 10 and will offer a new dimension to a Black & Gold attack that leads MLS in goals scored. 

5 – Time flies when you’re having fun, and this is already the fifth Hell is Real Derby in Columbus since FC Cincinnati joined MLS in 2019. And guess what? The Crew is unbeaten in the last four. Other than a wild draw four years ago this month, the Black & Gold have always beaten Cincinnati when they meet in the Ohio capital. Across the last four home games, the Crew has outscored FCC, 10-4. Both matches at Lower.com Field have been Crew victories. The point is, this Cincinnati has always struggled in Columbus, and Black & Gold supporters will certainly hope that continues. This rivalry has been one sided since it started, but Cincinnati, the three-time Wooden Spoon winners, currently hold the bragging rights. 

1 – No one enjoys complimenting their rival, but it’s factual that FC Cincinnati owns an eight-point lead in the Supporters’ Shield standings with 11 matches left and, in theory, could finish with the best regular season record in MLS history. Of course, Columbus can help prevent that from happening with a nice result Sunday. It’s also worth noting that FCC and its supporters could enter this rivalry game with a preoccupied mindset, as Lionel Messi and Inter Miami CF visit Ohio on Wednesday in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semis. It’s important for the Black & Gold to set the tone early – just like we know The Nordecke will. Cincinnati might be unbeaten at home, but its road record is 4-2-5. As for Columbus, the Crew has an 8-1-3 record at Lower.com Field, which makes the club unbeaten in all but one match.

When They Last Met

The Crew was defeated, 3-2, when the clubs met at TQL Stadium on May 20. Initially trailing 2-0, the visitors equalized the match in the 52nd minute thanks to goals from Lucas Zelarayán and Malte Amundsen. FC Cincy then scored the game winner 15 minutes later. The last clash in Columbus went well, though, as the home side won, 2-0, on July 17, 2022. Cucho Hernández started the fun with a 16th-minute goal and Lucas Zelarayán offered the clincher with a converted penalty in the 86th minute. 

Match Overview 

Who: Columbus Crew host FC Cincinnati

When: Sunday, Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Lower.com Field

How to Listen: 97.1 HD3/The Fan Stream, La Mega 103.1 FM

Current Standings: Columbus Crew – Sixth in Eastern Conference; FC Cincinnati – First in Eastern Conference

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