It’s Derby time in Ohio once again. On Friday night, under the lights and on national television, the eyes of the soccer world turn to Hell Is Real. FC Cincinnati travel up I-71 to take on the Columbus Crew this weekend, with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. at Lower.com Field. The match will be broadcast on ESPN.
HOW TO WATCH:
TV: ESPN, ESPNDeportes
Radio: ESPN1530, iHeart Radio app
Be sure to follow @FCCincinnati on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for live updates from the match.
SCOUTING COLUMBUS CREW (6-6-9 – 24 pts – 9th, Eastern Conference)
Columbus have been a different team in 2021 from the squad that won MLS Cup last season. The talent and quality of the team remains high, but after six consecutive losses, the Crew are in need of a result.
Lucas Zelarayán leads the team with six goals in 2021, and his two assists sit just behind Pedro Santos (three) for the club lead.
STORYLINES TO WATCH
Hometown Hagglund nears milestone – FC Cincinnati defender and Queen City native Nick Hagglund made his 49th appearance for the Orange and Blue last time out at New England. That’s the most in FCC history, an appearance on Friday would make him the first player in club history to appear in 50 MLS matches.
Acosta provides – Midfielder Luciano Acosta assisted Brenner’s goal in the 54’ last time out, giving him five assists so far this season. That number puts him tied with Emmanuel Ledesma (2019) for the most assists in a single season as well as overall in an FCC uniform.
Hell is Real –This Derby match is one of the most intense in all of MLS, and according to Head Coach Jaap Stam, this one might have a bit of extra flavor to it:
“It’s going to be an intense meeting again. It’s always been like this, but the importance of the game itself is very important in terms of where both teams are and what they want to do and what they want to achieve.
“Also, going towards the future, the derby is becoming bigger and bigger, so there is a little bit more tension to this particular game as well. In these games it’s not only about result … but also about the pride and honor of a team itself. That’s how it is supposed to be. I think it needs to be a game that is being played with a lot of passion and hopefully quality as well.”