For the first time in MLS regular-season history, Columbus Crew SC (7-14-4, 15 pts.) will face off against FC Cincinnati on Saturday, August 10 at MAPFRE Stadium.
The Black & Gold are coming off of a 1-1 draw on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes. Crew SC came back to tie the game following a Gyasi Zardes header in the 65th minute after conceding a penalty-kick goal in the first half. The draw extended Crew SC's unbeaten streak to four consecutive matches.
“When you have four results in a row that gives you confidence,” said head coach Caleb Porter. “We will keep building on this feeling.”
Additionally, in each of the past four matches, Crew SC has responded to every goal the team's conceded while finding the back of the net in each second-half of play.
“I think it shows that we have grown,” said midfielder David Guzman. “In the first half, we are getting a lot of chances and maybe we are not putting them all away, but in the second half we are, which shows that we are continuing to work and finalizing and executing.”
As for FC Cincinnati (5-17-2, 17 pts.), the club is coming off a 2-1 loss at home against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. FC Cincy took an early lead off a goal from Allan Cruz in the sixth minute, but the Whitecaps responded with two unanswered goals in the 42nd and 84th minute. The loss marked Cincinnati's fourth straight loss defeat.
Cincinnati has had their share of struggles in their inaugural MLS season as they currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with 17 points and are last in the League in both goals scored (23) and goals conceded (55).
“I think a new expansion team is always tough coming into the League,” said defender Alex Crognale. “We’ve seen their struggles, but they also have some really talented and some really explosive players who can be dangerous.”
Some of the key players for Cincinnati when it comes to scoring include Cruz (4), Kekuta Manneh (3), Emmanuel Ledesma (3), and Darren Mattocks (2). Additionally, FC Cincy has eight other players with a single goal on the season.
With that, the Black & Gold must prepare for the unexpected.
“I think they are consistently consistent with how they play. It is a very talented group, to be honest with players that can hurt you in many ways,” said midfielder Wil Trapp. “It can be disconnected, but it can also be dangerous because unexpected things can happen at any time.”
Scoring first will be particularly key, as FCC has only earned one point this season from a losing position, which happened in the second week of the season.
“For the team,” Trapp continued, “it is just about breaking lines, it is about keeping the ball. It is about performing in a way that gets them out of shape, so we can exploit them and score goals.”
With the two teams being located approximately 110 miles away from each other, the Club recognizes that the game has a lot of importance for its supporters.
“With our supporters,” Porter said, “we know that this game means a lot. We are fighting for Columbus. We want to make a statement for our city.”
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET and supporters can watch the match on FOX Sports Ohio, stream on FOX Sports GO, or listen on 97.1 FM The Fan or www.ColumbusCrewSC.com (English & Spanish).