Massive Predictions: Crew at FC Cincinnati

The Columbus Crew return to action on Saturday night in the Hell Is Real Derby against FC Cincinnati following the midweek 2-0 win against the LA Galaxy. The victory stopped a four-game winless run in MLS play.

FC Cincinnati currently sits atop the Supporters Shield standings with 27 points through 12 games and has a three-point lead in the Eastern Conference. Cincinnati is undefeated at home during the 2023 season. Helping the Orange and Blue get to that point is striker Brandon Vazquez and midfielder Luciano Acosta who have combined for six goals and four assists early this year.

Cincinnati comes into the game with a relatively clean bill of health. Forward Brenner, who has played in eight games this season, is the notable player out with an ankle injury.

Can the Crew slow down FC Cincinnati at home? Our Massive Report Staff gives their predictions for the game against FC Cincinnati.

Grant Miller

It’s Hell Is Real, it’s in Cincinnati. Weird stuff is going to happen either way, but Cucho Hernandez and Lucas Zaralary are heating up at the right time. FC Cincinnati has won every single home game this year, but none of those games were against their big brother. The Crew rise to the occasion and earn a draw that will feel like a win.

Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 2

Nathan Townsend

The Crew takes on state rivals and Eastern Conference leaders FC Cincinnati this weekend away at TQL Stadium. I expect this game to be high-energy and fast-paced with plenty of goal-scoring opportunities coming at both ends of the field. The Crew has been inconsistent this season, but has been the dominant team in the Hell Is Real Derby and I expect that to continue. I think Saturday’s game will be the Cucho Hernandez game, as the striker, who has been dangerous all season, grabs a brace and an assist and wills the Crew to victory.

Columbus Crew 3 FC Cincinnati 2

Collin Johnson

Wednesday was a fine return to form for the Crew even if there was another nervy second half. Columbus ceded possession for much of the second half but was able to limit the number of positive chances created. Movement and buildup showed some positive signs of a variation that wasn’t there earlier in the season but the snoozer of a second half is still a concern. We’re all hoping that approach to the second half was about seeing home a result and avoiding injury/fatigue for the most important match of the season so far on Saturday but who knows. 

Meanwhile, Cincinnati is playing the best soccer of the team’s existence. The Orange and Blue have occasionally struggled to score goals but has played strong defense that allowed the team to have more home wins than any other MLS team to date. By all accounts, the Black & Gold are motivated and ready to roll on Saturday but this will definitely be the biggest test for this young team. 

Columbus Crew 1 FC Cincinnati 1

Patrick Murphy

Welcome back to Hell Is Real. The Crew has dominated this rivalry in its young history, but FC Cincinnati has turned things around over the last year plus after struggling in their first few seasons in MLS. That has at least made this series a bit more competitive.

Cincinnati is the best team in MLS right now based on the team’s record and is a perfect 7-0 at home. Pat Noonan has his team playing impressively and this will be a difficult test for the Black & Gold. There could be similar late-game fireworks to last season at TQL Stadium, but I think this one goes the way of the home.

FC Cincinnati 2 Columbus Crew 1

Adam Miller

Hell is here as the Black & Gold head south on I-71 to face their in-state rivals. Both sides enter having won midweek and in the Eastern Conference playoff places. This game will be interesting because they play two completely different styles. I expect both sides to have moments of quality in this match and for it to be an entertaining tense match. The Crew will open the scoring through Cucho Hernandez in the first half before the opponent equalizes in the second half. However, Hernandez will seal his brace and make sure the Crew takes all three points back to the capital with them.

Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 1

Drew McDaniel

The Hell Is Real Derby does not come at a good time for either team as they try to make deep U.S. Open Cup runs as well as having midweek games beforehand. With all of this going on, I expect both teams to take this match as seriously as possible, rotating their squads midweek in preparation for the rivalry match. FC Cincinnati has been on a roll and has only won at home. Cucho Hernandez and Lucas Zelarayan will create nightmares for the Cincinnati backline. With Milos Degenek’s injury, Columbus will struggle to defend against Luchiano Acosta and Brandon Vazquez. 

Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 2

Ryan Schmitt

Hell Is Real is back, which is a top-tier name for a derby. Anyway, the Crew has played some brilliant soccer the past few games and is a force in the league. However, just as the Black & Gold have done, Cincinnati has done better. But, in soccer more than any other sport, anybody can win the game. Columbus has rotated players frequently and become stronger because of it, which should also help the team coming into this game.

Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 2

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