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Massive Predictions: Crew vs. FC Cincinnati

Will the Black & Gold make it four unbeaten against their in-state rivals this year?

FC Cincinnati v Columbus Crew SC Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

If this headline looks familiar, it’s because it should. The Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati are set to meet for the fourth time in a strange 2020 season on Wednesday night. Unless Cincinnati makes a crazy run to end the year and makes the playoffs. This will also be the last time these two teams meet in 2020.

The Crew has had FC Cincy’s number this year, dropping just two point in the first three meetings and scoring seven goals while conceding none. But the Black & Gold haven’t been in the best of form the last three matches. That’s nothing to Cincinnati’s winless run, which stretches back to mid-September.

Both teams enter this game banged up, with a number of key starters expected to miss this match at Nippert Stadium. The Crew is the more talented team but that doesn’t always mean a result. What does our staff think about this game?

Collin Johnson

The Crew has finally found its mid-2019 form, which isn’t something most of us wanted to see in a season that began so promisingly. Sunday’s COVID-related postponement gave the team a bit of additional rest, but added to the stresses of testing and contact tracing that is a negligible benefit.

Fortunately, FC Cincinnati has only scored two goals in the 12 matches the team played following the MLS is Back Tournament. Cincinnati has managed to keep its opponent from scoring in five of those 12 matches but the team’s game plan is the same: defend with as many players as possible and hope to get lucky with a goal.

Even without Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelarayan, the Crew should have no trouble scoring at least once in the hundredth Hell is Real Derby of 2020.
Columbus Crew 1 FC Cincinnati 0

Guilherme Torres

It’s been an eventful week for the Columbus Crew as the team that failed to win each of its last three matches had what would be an important road match against Orlando City postponed due to positive COVID-10 cases on the staff. The Black & Gold remain on the road, but a match against a struggling rival in FC Cincinnati seems like the perfect occasion for the team to bounce back.

Cincinnati is on a terrible run of form, having failed to score a single goal in each of its last five matches, losing the four most recent. If that wasn’t enough, the Hell is Real Derby rivals also won’t have key players in captain Kendall Waston, fullback Greg Garza, goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton and striker Jurgen Locadia due to injury. Even for a Crew team that hasn’t been impressive as of late and that won’t have Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelarayan, it should be a great opportunity to secure a road win.
Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 0

Adam Miller

The Crew and FC Cincinnati face off for the one millionth time in 2020 in an effort by Don Garber to strengthen the rivalry he once tried to destroy. Regardless, the Crew won’t give him this chance as the team once again takes control of Ohio and gets back to winning ways. A slow first half heats up quickly and the Crew walks away victors as Gyasi Zardes and Pedro Santos once again prove to be Cincinnati killers.
Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 0

Patrick Murphy

So far so good for the Crew against Cincinnati this year. The Black & Gold took care of business at the MLS is Back Tournament, were disappointed with a draw at Nippert Stadium in August and dismantled the in-state rivals a week later at MAPFRE Stadium. Now comes part four.

I expect a fired up Columbus side in this game after the disappointing result that was the 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact last week. After not getting that defeat out of the team’s system on Sunday — thanks to two positive COVID-19 tests — the Crew could be an angry group against Cincinnati. But injuries make this game less predictable, so I’m going with a close result for the Black & Gold.
Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 1

Orri Benatar

The Crew is on a full week’s rest after the postponement of the Orlando City game and is angry after the team’s loss to the Montreal Impact. Cincinnati hasn’t scored a goal since Sept. 19 off an Olimpico and is the only team in MLS without at least 10 goals for all season. Columbus is motivated and angry to win against a rival that can’t seem to score. Probably because Jaap Stam has built the biggest bus in MLS history.
Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 0

Thomas Costello

The Crew and FC Cincinnati both haven’t had the most successful last few matches. Cincinnati is coming off six straight without a goal scored and Columbus has let in more goals in the past three matches than the team did in the first 13. It seems easy picking the Crew to win, since even though the Black & Gold have let in goals, they haven’t been held without a goal since the end of August.

It’s a dream matchup for both teams really. This contest will be much closer than supporters think it will, with the depth of Columbus being challenged. Our neighbors to the south will come into this contest either fired up or on fumes. It will be the latter and the Columbus Crew will come away with the win, on a Luis Diaz goal.
Columbus Crew 1 FC Cincinnati

Doug Hildreth

There’s an overused Sun Tzu quote about knowing your enemy and knowing thyself. And if there is one thing the Crew knows, it’s FC Cincinnati. It seems like it’s been a hundred battles this year in the Hell is Real Derby. But the Crew may still be trying to figure itself out. Injuries to crucial pieces of the spine mar lineups and potential performances with question marks. Still, I think Crew has enough talented depth to handle its little brothers to the south again. I feel a Pedro Santos brace coming on.
Columbus Crew 3 FC Cincinnati 1

Jay Homan

Is this the one where FC Cincinnati finally gets a win over the Columbus Crew? Doubtful, but anything seems possible after the Crew’s last several results. Columbus only gave up five goals in the team’s first 13 matches of the regular season. In the last three matches, the Black & Gold have given up seven. It’s not terribly surprising, as Caleb Porter has had minimal rotation in his back four since the beginning of September. Pair that with a packed schedule and the guys are sure to have tired legs. Maybe the unexpected full week of rest will help get the team back into its stingy early season demeanor.
Columbus Crew 1 FC Cincinnati 1

Drew Niccum

Columbus is in a bit of a rut, having lost two of the previous three games and drawing the other. Injuries continue to take a toll on the team and it’s difficult to see the Crew firing on all cylinders without its key cogs. With that being said, and to paraphrase Sir Alex Ferguson, “Lads, it’s Cincinnati.”

Although I can’t imagine anyone is too excited for Hell is Real Part 4, this is a good opportunity for Columbus to get back on track before entering the final stretch of games. There’s not much else to be said since we’ve seen this matchup three times already. Cincinnati is a bad team and the Crew should come away with a win (although I am sure Columbus will find a way to make it difficult).
Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 0

Nick Hudak

In an unprecedented fourth (not a typo) Hell is Real Derby in 2020, the Crew is going for its fourth result versus the team’s southern Ohio rivals. The Black & Gold have outscored FC Cincinnati 7-0 in three matches this season.

That’s not to say that history is destined to repeat itself given all of the injuries that the Crew is currently dealing with. Cincinnati has looked the part to play Cinderella in 2020 and we already saw that with the team’s mini run in the MLS is Back Tournament. All of a sudden, Cincy look like a fit to make a run at the final playoff spot.

I don’t think it’ll happen, nor will a Crew defeat. The Black & Gold have had their rivals number in 2020 and have to be ailing by not getting three points against the lowly Montreal Impact. If we know one thing about this year’s Crew, the team is capable of fighting until the very last minute.
Columbus Crew SC 2 FC Cincinnati 0

What do you think the result of this Hell is Real Derby will be? Let us know in the comment section below.