Match Preview

PREVIEW | FC Cincinnati host Columbus Crew in high-stakes Hell is Real derby


FC Cincinnati will host the 10th edition of the Hell is Real derby in MLS when the Orange and Blue take on the Columbus Crew at TQL Stadium. Kickoff is set for Saturday, August 27 at 7:30 p.m.

The Ohio-based MLS clubs are separated by a single point in the Eastern Conference standings. Just seven games remain for the Orange and Blue following Saturday’s high-stakes contest, while the Crew have a game in hand.

A limited number of tickets remain for Saturday’s game. Visit the ticket page at, or call 513-977-KICK, to learn more.


Local TV: Star64
Local Stream:
Out of Market Stream: ESPN+
Radio: FOX Sports 1360
Talent: Tom Gelehrter (play-by-play), Kevin McCloskey (analyst), Alex Stec (sideline)


Be sure to follow @FCCincinnati on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for live updates from the game.

There are plenty of fan experiences going on to get fans fired up for Hell is Real. From pre-game activations, live music, special food and beverage options, giveaways and more, take a look below at what is going on Saturday night at TQL Stadium by visiting the matchday guide, here.

Can’t make it to the game and looking for a place to watch the Orange and Blue? Head to one of the club’s official Pub Partners for the season, which broadcast all home and away games and feature opportunities for fans to win prizes all season long.

The Columbus Crew lead the all-time MLS series over FC Cincinnati, 5-1-3 (1-1-2 in Cincinnati)

Head Coach Caleb Porter’s squad bring into Cincinnati a six-game unbeaten streak on the road. It’s been since May 14, a 2-0 loss at New York City FC, that the Crew last dropped all three points away from home. Their run is the longest active road unbeaten streak in MLS, and with a result on Saturday in the Queen City, it would stand alone as the longest streak in the league this season. 

In the first meeting between the sides, FC Cincinnati saw how dangerous Crew forward Cucho Hernández has been since joining the Crew as a Young Designated Player in June. The Colombian international, with his brace against Atlanta United FC last Sunday, became just the fifth player in MLS history to score eight goals in eight games.

Other players the Orange and Blue have seen plenty of in the past include playmakers Lucas Zelarayán, Pedro Santos and Darlington Nagbe. From the penalty spot last month in Columbus, Zelarayán scored his fourth career goal against FC Cincinnati. Santos has scored three times against FCC as well.

The Crew’s captain Jonathan Mensah, his center back partner Milos Degenek, and goalkeeper Eloy Room lead the backline of a team which has conceded more than two goals in a game just once this season, which came in a 3-3 draw at the San Jose Earthquakes on March 5.

The Crew have a game in hand over FC Cincinnati after their July 30 matchup at Charlotte FC was suspended in the 16th minute due to severe weather and was unable to be resumed. That matchup will now be played October 5, just days before Decision Day.

Entering Week 27 of the MLS season, Columbus and Cincinnati are two of nine clubs separated by just six points and ranking between fifth and 13th in the Eastern Conference.

HELL TIME – Saturday will mark the 10th all-time MLS meeting between FC Cincinnati and the Columbus Crew. It will mark the second opponent FCC have faced 10 times since joining MLS in 2019 (Atlanta United FC).

DRAWING IT OUT – There are four teams with double-digit ties this season in MLS, with the Ohio rivals marking half of the total (Columbus – 11; Cincinnati – 10). 

Of FC Cincinnati’s 26 games this season, 20 have either ended in a tie or have been decided by one goal. That is in a tie for the third-most such games played by any MLS team this season (MTL, RSL, MIN, NSH, TOR, ATL, SEA). 

UNLIKE LAST TIME… – Luciano Acosta, who missed July’s Hell is Real derby due to suspension, will be available to lead FC Cincinnati’s midfield attack. He has scored two career goals and added five assists in his career against the Crew, including a goal and an assist when the two sides met at TQL Stadium last July. 

The Orange and Blue will be without defensive midfielder Obinna Nwobodo, however. He will serve a one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation.

DID YOU KNOW? – By scoring against the Red Bulls last Saturday, Matt Miazga became the 13th player in FC Cincinnati’s MLS history to score for the Orange and Blue with their first shot on target with the club. 

Three players in club history have scored on their (to date) only career shot on target. That list includes the newly acquired Miazga, rookie Ian Murphy who scored on April 30 at Toronto FC, and former defender Edgar Castillo who scored the fastest goal in club history just 26 seconds in on July 9, 2021 against the Crew.

NO. 19 – On Thursday the club announced that FC Cincinnati have signed forward Brandon Vazquez to a contract extension through the 2025 season, with an option for 2026. 

He’s close to yet another milestone this season: the single-season club record for shots. He enters Saturday with 65 career shots with FCC, two shy of Brenner’s record of 67 last season. That record is sure to fall at some point this season, adding to his single-season club records already surpassed in goals (15) and shots on target (30). 

THE ROOKIE IN NET – Goalkeeper Roman Celentano’s next appearance will be his 20th this season, which will set the club record for appearances in a season by a goalkeeper, a mark which is currently in a three-way tie at 19 between Spencer Richey (2019) and Kenneth Vermeer (2021). 

Head Coach Pat Noonan on the Hell is Real derby and the week of preparation
“Last time we discussed [the rivalry ahead of] the first matchup was, a lot of us haven't been a part of it. And so how do we better understand the significance of it, just from the club's perspective and the fan base? And so yes, this week has felt a little different. There's no two ways about it. And I think the group understands certainly the importance of a strong performance and the quest for three points, but also where we're at in the table, that's going to be a recurring theme in conversation. Because we're very tight in these spots in the table, and we're trying to jump [Columbus]."

Fans can place deposits now for 2023 Season Tickets, and current season ticket holders can renew for 2023 now. Anyone with interest in 2023 Season Tickets can place their deposit HERE, or by calling 513-977-KICK, that’s 513-977-5425.

FC Cincinnati's 2022 schedule can be viewed, HERE. Fans can build their custom 3 Match Flex Plan today. Pick any three matches and save on single match ticket pricing with no fees at checkout. Fans can pick the same seats for three games or select different options around TQL Stadium.

Single match tickets to any of FC Cincinnati’s remaining home games are also available now, head to or call 513-977-KICK, to learn more.

FC Cincinnati are playing their fourth season of MLS competition in 2022, and their second playing at TQL Stadium. For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati. Additionally, fans are encouraged to download the team’s official mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play for instant access to mobile tickets, team content and match notifications.