The wait is nearly over. It has been 126 long days since the Columbus Crew SC’s last Major League Soccer match, a 1-1 draw with the Seattle Sounders in the Emerald City. Tonight, Crew soccer returns in Orlando, Florida for today’s MLS is Back Group E opener against FC Cincinnati. It’s chapter three of Hell is Real in MLS and it will be titled: The One in Florida.
Columbus beat New York City FC and drew Seattle in the team’s two MLS regular season encounters before the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. The Black & Gold’s Ohio rivals lost to fellow Group E opponents Atlanta United and the New York Red Bulls way back in March but now, attention has shifted to the tournament. This could be the oddest Hell is Real Derby of them all.
Members of our staff made predictions for today’s game as well as the full MLS is Back Tournament. Adam Miller provides a scouting report on FC Cincinnati. Pat Murphy makes five bold predictions for the Crew in the MLS is Back Tournament. Tyler Fisher tells us how people in Columbus are gathering to watch the game while social distancing. Doug Hildreth provides an introduction into tournament soccer. Ben Ferree gives us the best bets for this weekend.
FC Cincinnati (4-1-4-1) - Przemyslaw Tyton, Saad Abdul-Salam, Tom Pettersson, Kendall Waston, Greg Garza, Haris Medunjanin, Adrien Regattin, Siem de Jong, Frankie Amaya, Yuya Kubo, Kekuta Manneh
Crew (4-2-3-1) - Eloy Room, Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Vito Wormgoor, Hector Jimenez, Darlington Nagbe, Artur, Luis Diaz, Lucas Zelarayan, Youness Mokhtar, Gyasi Zardes
Injuries and suspensions:
FC Cincinnati: N/A
Note: MLS teams are not providing regular injury reports during the MLS is Back Tournament.
How to watch:
Date: Saturday, July 11, 2020, 11:20 p.m. ET
Venue: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (Orlando, Florida)
TV: Fox Sports 1, TUDN, TSN
Radio: English: 97.1 The Fan - Spanish: Columbus Crew YouTube
Streaming: FOX Sports App, TUDN App, TSN App
New York Red Bulls defeated Atlanta United 1-0 in the Group E opener earlier Saturday evening. Florian Valot scored the lone goal in the 4th minute to seal three points for New York.
1. New York Red Bulls - 3 pts (+1 GD)
2. FC Cincinnati - 0 pts (0 GD)
3. Columbus Crew - 0 pts (0 GD)
4. Atlanta United - 0 pts (-1 GD)
Last three matches:
August 25, 2019: FC Cincinnati 1, Columbus Crew 3 (Nippert Stadium)
August 10, 2019: Columbus Crew 2, FC Cincinnati 2 (MAPFRE Stadium)
June 14, 2017 (U.S. Open Cup): FC Cincinnati 1, Columbus Crew 0 (Nippert Stadium)