It’s Rivalry Week, and FC Cincinnati (7-7-6, carries a six-game unbeaten streak into the first “Hell is Real” derby match of the season against Columbus Crew SC (6-5-8, 26 points) tonight at Lower.com Field.
The Orange and Blue will be without captain Luciano Acosta for a second straight game as he serves what now will be a three-game suspension, as the MLS Disciplinary Committee Decisions ruled Friday to add a fine and two more games to his punishment following a “violent conduct” red card against New York Red Bulls last weekend. He also was found to have made unwanted contact with the official and took too long to exit the field.
FCC winger Alvaro Barreal filled in at the No. 10 position for Acosta on Wednesday and scored the first goal in a 2-2 draw against Vancouver. The Orange and Blue also got a 10th goal from Brandon Vazquez, and Brenner assisted both goals, as he has played a role in nine totals goals (five goals, four assists) in nine starts.
Meanwhile, Columbus enters on the league’s longest unbeaten streak having gained points in seven straight games. The Crew played D.C. United to a 2-2 draw on Wednesday, following a 3-2 comeback win against Chicago last weekend. New Colombian international forward Juan “Cucho” Hernández, who the Crew recently signed to a record Designated Player deal from English Premier League side Watford, netted the game-winner against Chicago and scored a brace in D.C. on Wednesday. In total, he has already netted three goals in just 73 minutes off the bench.
Cincinnati has never won in Columbus, as the Crew are 2-0-1 at home against FC Cincinnati and lead the all-time MLS series 4-1-3.
“What I know is this means a lot to the club and to the fan base,” Pat Noonan told media this week. “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.”
Graphic by Johnny Colesi.
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