FC Cincinnati 2

PREVIEW | FC Cincinnati 2, Columbus Crew 2 set for rivalry match at Historic Crew Stadium

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FC Cincinnati 2 head north on I-71 for a Saturday night clash against in-state rival Columbus Crew 2 at Historic Crew Stadium. The Orange and Blue will look to put together back-to-back road wins, while Crew 2 look to close the gap on second place New England Revolution II.

The two sides will meet in Columbus for the second game of a three-match season series with kickoff set for 6 p.m. ET. The match will be streamed live on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV App.


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Saturday’s fixture will be the fifth all-time meeting between the teams, as the Orange and Blue will look to pick up their first regulation win (0-3-1) against Crew 2.

Columbus Crew 2 won the season’s first meeting at Scudamore Field at NKU Soccer Stadium by a 1-0 score line, as Taha Habroune scored his first goal for Columbus just three minutes into the match. Crew 2 were reduced to 10-men in the 51st minute as Jacob Erlandson picked up a red card, but the Orange and Blue were unable to capitalize with an equalizer of their own.

Columbus Crew 2 have followed up their MLS NEXT Pro Cup-winning season with an equally strong sophomore campaign. Crew 2 sit third in the Eastern Conference and trail first place Crown Legacy FC by just eight points with six matches remaining in the regular season. Columbus have won 12 matches this year with seven of those coming at Historic Crew Stadium or Lower.com Field.

Crew 2 haven’t been able to replicate last season’s offensive success in which Columbus scored 62 goals in 24 regular season matches. Crew 2 have managed to score just 38 goals through 22 matches this season, which is the lowest total among the top seven clubs in the Eastern Conference. Marco Micaletto and Noah Fuson still pose a threat in attack for Crew 2, as the pair have combined for 12 goals, six each, this season.

Columbus have also shown cracks in what was last season’s most dominant defensive team in MLS NEXT Pro. Having conceded just 22 goals in 2022, Crew 2 have allowed 34 this season and enter the matchday on the back of a 5-0 home loss to New York Red Bulls II. Despite those numbers, Crew 2 have eight clean sheets on the year and are tied for the second most in MLS NEXT Pro.

Crew 2 are 2-2-1 over their last five matches with wins against Atlanta United 2 and Toronto FC II, losing to Philadelphia Union II and New York Red Bulls II. Columbus have scored nine goals while conceding 14 over that span.

STARTING THE ROAD TRIP RIGHT – FC Cincinnati 2 earned their first road win of the season on Sunday night, a 2-1 win against Philadelphia Union II, as they look ahead to Saturday’s match against Columbus. Four of Cincinnati’s remaining six regular season matches will be away from Northern Kentucky.

A FIRST START (AND ASSIST) – Lucas Tamarez picked up his first start of the season against Union II last week and registered his first goal contribution for FC Cincinnati 2, an assist on Ben Stitz’s opener. Tamarez has made three appearances for the Orange and Blue since signing with the team on August 3.

STRONG IN GOAL – Paul Walters was between the sticks for Sunday’s win in Chester, Pa. where the goalkeeper made six saves in the contest, including a first-half double save against Christopher Olney. Walters has made 23 saves over his last four appearances, including a career-high eight saves in the Orange and Blue’s first shutout of the season against Chicago Fire FC II.

BUSINESS END OF THE SEASON – FC Cincinnati 2 will return to Cincinnati for a home match against New York City FC II on August 27 at TQL Stadium before closing out their season on the road against Orlando City B on September 24. Three of the Orange and Blue’s remaining five opponents are currently below the playoff line.

SPEAKING OF THE PLAYOFF LINE – The Orange and Blue’s win over Union II keep them alive in the playoff chase as FC Cincinnati 2 are nine points back of Philadelphia, who currently occupy the seventh and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.