Columbus Crew SC fell in the first Ohio Derby between FC Cincinnati and the Black & Gold 1-0 despite holding the edge in all the stats but the scoreline.
Crew SC spent most of the first 20 minutes in the Cincinnati end. The home side was happy to soak up the pressure and look to counter. Behind the skill of starters Federico Higuain and Justin Meram, the Black & Gold kept the ball and tried to probe for good chances. They weren’t able to create anything that truly tested Mitch Hildebrandt.
FC Cincinnati looked to counter at pace and tried to find Djiby Fall playing directly and were only able to get off a couple long shots that missed the frame.
The home side started to settle into the game, again moving the ball through Djiby, who worked to hold up the ball and get FCC into dangerous positions, but they were only able to get a free kick from long distance that the visitors cleared.
The game sagged in the summer heat and humidity. The pace slowed and neither side would be able to set up a quality chance until just before the halftime whistle when both sides had a late opportunity.
Pressing a transitioning defense, Ethan Finlay slipped in an early ball that found Adam Jahn on the back corner, but he sent his close range shot from a tight angle just wide.
Aodhan Quinn sent a Cincinnati free kick from the corner that forced Brad Stuver to tip it. The deflection shifted the path of the ball out of reach of an onrushing attacker as the half came to a close. Crew SC would lead the shot totals 11 to 3, but the scoreboard was knotted at zeros.
Crew SC would continue to push in the second half. Artur slipped through the FCC defense and sent a a 55th minute shot high. Columbus would get another chance in the 61st minute, Higuain headed a Finlay cross just wide. The still struggled to create quality for all the possession.
The home side would break through as with one of their few attacks. After a cross was whipped in from the right side. Djiby would out jump Alex Crognale for the first ball and then hold off Hector Jimenez to loft the ball over Stuver who had stayed on his line.
With a renewed sense of urgency, Crew SC pushed forward, but FC Cincinnati was more than happy to deal with the gormless crosses and shots from distance.
Crew SC would get a couple final good chances to even the score in stoppage time. Niko Hansen slipped in a low cross into the box. The ball just Adam Jahn’s sliding stab at the ball just inside the six-yard box. With just a miniute remaining, Higuain volleyed from 12 yards out and it went just over the crossbar.
The home side had bunkered effectively at 0-0 and were more determined with a Cup upset looming and as the whistle blew they celebrated in front of over 30,000 fans, the second most in modern Open Cup history.