The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup makes its return to Nippert Stadium for the third time this season on Wednesday night. But the fourth-round match up has a buzz about it unlike anything we’ve seen before in the Cup, as we’ll be facing an opponent many had only dreamed of facing since our young club was announced.
But make no mistake: this match is real. More than 20,000 have already committed to attending the first “Ohio Derby” between the two clubs. So get the lowdown now on what has been billed by some as one of the most anticipated soccer matches in Ohio history.
In the second round of the Open Cup, we were able to get by an in-state rival in the form of NPSL national champions AFC Cleveland. In the third round, we were drawn against and defeated league and River Cities Cup rival Louisville City FC. And our reward for that hard-fought victory was a chance to face not only another in-state rival, but also one of the big kids on the block: Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew SC.
Currently sitting fifth in the MLS Eastern Conference standings, Crew SC have a pretty impressive history. Officially the first Major League Soccer club upon being founded in 1996, they lifted the Open Cup trophy in 2002. As for how they’ve performed in the league, Columbus have been Supporters’ Shield winners three times (2004, 2008, 2009) and also hoisted the MLS Cup in 2008.
FCC: Though we’re currently riding a two match winning streak in the Cup – the aforementioned 1-0 victories over AFC Cleveland and Louisville in the previous rounds of the tournament – our current overall form isn’t quite as hot. Since knocking out Louisville back on May 31st, the Orange & Blue have picked up just one point from two league outings. Though the side is creating far more opportunities than earlier in the season, converting the increased chances is still proving tricky. And with this match being sandwiched in between two straight Saturday home dates, that will make managing personnel imperative.
CCSC: Over their last five matches, Columbus have gone 3-2-0 – all in league play, as this is their first match in the Cup this year. That stretch has seen them conceded eleven times while tallying seven of their own, so another high scoring affair isn’t out of the question. While we enter the match on just three days’ rest, Crew SC have the benefit of getting eleven. That said, they do have a match just three days after ours in Atlanta.
"We looking forward to welcoming our Columbus neighbors to Nippert Stadium. Cup runs are always special, but to play a MLS opponent in a derby at home makes this Wednesday evening extra special. We know the fans are excited for this battle and our players are looking forward to playing against one for the Cup’s previous winners. We are under no illusions as to how difficult this test will be, but are excited to try our absolute best to bring victory to our city."
- Head Coach Alan Koch
FCC: After sitting on the sidelines through suspension during league play since previously playing against AFC Cleveland in the second round, striker Djiby returned to action in the third round of the Open Cup against Louisville City once again. And in dramatic fashion, the Senegalese forward was on the mark for his seventh goal in all competitions in 2017 with a trademark header. With the big man coming off the bench against Charlotte last weekend, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him back in the XI against the Crew.
CCSC: Columbus have a treasure trove of talented players in their ranks – Argentine playmaker Federico Higuaín, mercurial winger Justin Meram, local captain Wil Trapp in midfield, and Ghanaian international Harrison Afful just to name a few. The real question, however, is how many of their big names will actually see the pitch at Nippert? Most MLS sides rest their regulars in their early Open Cup fixtures, but don’t be surprised if a few starters are sprinkled into their XI and bench on Wednesday.
Despite being one of the most highly anticipated local derbies in Ohio history, this is the first ever meeting between FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew SC. Here’s hoping it’s a match up that becomes much more frequent in the not-to-distant future.
With summer nearly arrived in the Ohio River Valley, it’s not surprising that we’re starting to see an increase in the familiar summer pop-up thundershowers in recent forecasts. And while earlier forecasts were calling for a high probability of them making an appearance tomorrow night, as of the time of publication, that threat seems to be diminishing. Scattered thunderstorms are expected earlier in the day and early Wednesday morning… but as of now, we look in the clear during the match. However, expect muggy conditions to go along with temperatures in the low 80’s and high 70’s.
Our broadcast offering will once again improve upon the previous round, with not only an official match stream – which is available here – but also a television broadcast too! Subscribers to Spectrum Cable throughout Ohio and Northern Kentucky will be able to watch the match live on Spectrum Sports Ohio/Kentucky!