Match Preview

PREVIEW | FC Cincinnati travel to face the Columbus Crew for Hell is Real derby


FC Cincinnati will take on the Columbus Crew for Hell is Real, the rivalry named after the sign on Interstate-71, for the Ohio intrastate derby on Sunday night at Field. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on July 17 for a nationally televised game on FS1 and FOX Deportes as part of MLS Heineken Rivalry Week.

National TV: FS1, FOX Deportes
Stream: FOX Sports Go
Local Radio: ESPN 1530
FS1 Talent: John Strong (play-by-play), Stu Holden (analyst)
FOX Deportes Talent: John Laguna (play-by-play), Mariano Trujillo (analyst)
Radio 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.

For fans not making the trip up north, fans are encouraged to attend the Official Watch Party presented by Heineken at MVP Sports Bar & Grille (6923 Plainfield Rd. in Silverton) starting at 6:30 p.m. 

The Official Watch Party will feature:

  • Appearance by Gary the Lion
  • The FC Cincinnati Street Team with giveaways and activities
  • Drinks and Special Food Deals
  • DJ Prymtime

Fans can also catch the action at one of 14 official Pub Partners located across the region, presented by Coors Light.

The Crew lead the all-time MLS series over FC Cincinnati, 4-1-3 (2-0-1 in Columbus)

FC Cincinnati hold the second-longest unbeaten streak in MLS at six games. The Crew meanwhile hold the longest, entering Sunday night unbeaten in seven straight.

Columbus Head Coach Caleb Porter, a fellow former Indiana Hoosier just as FCC’s Pat Noonan, is in his fourth season at the helm of the Crew. His squad lulled in March and April, going over a month without a win, but has roared back to be right in the thick of the congested Eastern Conference playoff hunt with their recent form.

The Crew, like the Orange and Blue, will play their third game in nine days come kickoff on Sunday. Columbus thundered back from two goals down last Saturday in Chicago to defeat the Fire, 3-2. Midweek at D.C. United, Columbus played to a 2-2 draw after four second half goals including a late stoppage time equalizer for D.C. In both of those games, one name can be credited: Cucho.

The Crew signed Colombian international forward Juan “Cucho” Hernández to a record deal on June 21 as a Designated Player from English Premier League side Watford. He has taken the league by storm since his debut, netting the game-winner in the comeback in Chicago, followed by a brace in D.C. on Wednesday. In total, he has already netted three goals in just 73 minutes off the bench.

Cucho joins other Crew playmaker Lucas Zelarayán, the Armenian international who is perennially one of the league’s craftiest attacking midfielders. Zelarayán and midfielder Pedro Santos have each scored three times against FCC. Other players to keep an eye out for include forward Derrick Etienne, the team’s leader with a career-high five goals and midfielder Darlington Nagbe, who has started every game for Columbus this season.

Josh Williams along the backline will make his 150th regular season start with Columbus if he’s in the Starting XI on Sunday, and goalkeeper Eloy Room has five clean sheets this season.

FC Cincinnati meet Ohio rivals the Columbus Crew for the ninth time since the Orange and Blue joined MLS in 2019. FCC have only played Atlanta United FC more times, having met nine times as well. 

The Orange and Blue seek a second MLS win against their in-state rivals, and for the first time in Columbus. 

NEW FACES TO THE RIVALRY – Seventeen members of the current FC Cincinnati roster have never played in a Hell is Real match. Meanwhile the most experienced members of the derby are Yuya Kubo and Haris Medunjanin, each of whom have played against Columbus six times. Kubo’s most recent goal, one of his three career strikes, came in the 2-1 win over the eventual MLS Cup Champs on October 14, 2020 at Nippert Stadium. 

THE LONGEST ACTIVE GOAL STREAK – FC Cincinnati have scored in 13 consecutive games, the longest active streak in MLS and tied with CF Montréal’s run earlier this season for the longest of the season. Should FCC score at least one goal in Columbus, it will be the longest such streak in MLS in 2022. 

The Orange and Blue are 5-3-5 since the goal streak began on April 24 against LAFC.

SCORING EARLY – FC Cincinnati enter Week 21 of MLS competition as the league leaders in goals scored in the first half, with 19 goals in the opening half this season. Last season, FCC scored 21 first half goals in all of 2021.

On his first Hell is Real rivalry
"What I know is this means a lot to the club and to the fan base. What I said, even in our conversations with the coaches, and the players, not all of us have experienced it. It's not something where we can talk about previous experiences and how that impacts each one of us. So we need to understand the importance of the game as players, as coaches, and making sure that one, our reaction is the right one from our previous game, but also when we step on the field, and we go out to compete, we do it in a way where we show our club and our fans the importance of this game to them who have experienced it for a longer period of time, then a lot of us have that have just joined the club.”

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.