FC Cincinnati 2

PREVIEW | FC Cincinnati 2 host in-state rival, Columbus Crew 2, Sunday in first of three season meetings


FC Cincinnati 2 welcome in-state rival Columbus Crew 2 to Scudamore Field at NKU Soccer Stadium on May 21 for the first of a three-match season series between the two sides. The Orange and Blue look to rebound from a May 7 loss to Toronto FC II, while Crew 2 eye a fourth straight win. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. ET.

The match will be streamed live on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV App. For more information on MLS season Pass on Apple TV, visit fccincinnati.com/seasonpass.


Keep up with all things FC Cincinnati 2 @FCCincinnati2 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Sunday’s match will be the fourth all-time meeting between FC Cincinnati 2 and Columbus Crew 2. FCC 2 have yet to win against Crew 2 and hold a 0-2-1 record.

The inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Cup champions have picked up right where they left off in 2022. Columbus Crew 2 earned wins in five of their first seven and suffered just one loss to current Eastern Conference leaders, Crown Legacy FC, on April 2.

After scoring nine goals in six matches to start the year, Crew 2 hit Orlando City B for four this past Sunday. Noah Fuson and Marco Micaletto have taken the reigns of the Columbus attack after 2022 Golden Boot winner and MLS NEXT Pro Most Valuable Player Jacen Russell-Rowe signed a first team contract in June of last year. Fuson and Micaletto have each appeared in every match and starting in six of seven.

And while Russell-Rowe has made just one appearance for Columbus this season, the possibility of his inclusion into the matchday squad can’t be ignored. Russell-Rowe scored 21 goals for Crew 2 in 2022, netting six against the Orange and Blue in three meetings.

The offseason signings of forwards Gibran Rayo and Mataeo Bunbury have only added to a well-rounded Columbus side. Bunbury and Rayo each have two goals to their name, and each scored against OCB.

Where Crew 2 have really excelled this young season has been in defense. Columbus is dominant in the defensive third, allowing just four goals this season and leading the league with a 0.57 goals against average. Brady Scott and Stanislav Lapkes have split-time in goal, claiming five clean sheets between them.

2022’s MLS NEXT Pro Coach of the Year Laurent Courtois enters his second season at the helm as Crew 2 sets their sights on repeating as MLS NEXT Pro champions. Courtois previously served as the head coach for Columbus Crew’s U-17 and U-19 teams and played professionally in England, France and the United States.


BACK IN ACTION – Sunday’s match against Columbus kicks off a busy week for FC Cincinnati 2 as they play three games over the next eight days beginning with Crew 2. The Orange and Blue host Atlanta United 2 on May 25 before heading to New York City FC II on May 28.

The schedule remains congested for FCC 2 at the start of June with the Orange and Blue playing another 4 matches over a two-week span beginning on June 4.

AN INSTANT CLASSIC – The last time these two rivals met on FCC 2’s home turf was August 14, 2022, at TQL Stadium. The Orange and Blue ousted Columbus in a shootout following a 3-3 draw which saw FCC 2 score three goals in the second half to level things late in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

Alec Kann, who has made one appearance for FCC 2 this season, made two saves in the shootout while all four FCC 2 takers converted.

BATTLE OF STRENGTHS – FC Cincinnati 2’s 3-0 hiccup against Toronto FC II on May 7 was the first time this season that the Orange and Blue were held scoreless. Despite the result FCC 2 are tied for the second highest goals per match average (2.5) in MLS NEXT Pro having scored 15 goals in six matches.

Crew 2 will prove a stern test for FCC 2 as they lead the league in goals against average (0.57).

GOALS FOR HIRE – On May 12, Arquimides Ordoñez was officially called into the Guatemalan National team ahead of the FIFA U-20 World Cup set to begin on May 20. Ben Stitz and Jesus Castellano will look to match the production of Ordoñez, who is tied for the second most goals in MLS NEXT Pro.

Castellano has two goals and an assist while Stitz scored his first goal for the Orange and Blue in Cincinnati’s last home match at Scudamore Field (Sporting Kansas City II, April 23).