Friday morning, the Columbus Crew announced two schedule changes for rivalry matches in the 2021 MLS season. The first moved match is the all anticipated Hell is Real Derby game against FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium that will be played on Friday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET instead of Wednesday, July 7. The second schedule change is the Crew’s road trip to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Fire. The two will meet in the Windy City on Sunday, August 15 at 6 p.m. ET instead of Saturday, August 14.
The re-scheduling will add a few extra days of rest for the Black & Gold with now two extra training and recovery days between its July 3 match against the New England Revolution, the first game at New Crew Stadium, and its first-ever meeting with Cincinnati at its new stadium on July 9. One extra day was added for the August re-schedule with the Crew’s home match against Atlanta United taking place eight days before the trip to Chicago.
It’s certainly a welcome sight for both Crew and FC Cincy fans that the first Hell Is Real match of 2021 won’t be on a weeknight, but instead a Friday evening clash to begin the weekend. The two sides met four times in 2020 with the Crew winning twice, once in Florida at the MLS is Back Tournament 4-0 and in Columbus 3-0. FC Cincinnati held Columbus to a 0-0 draw and won 2-1 in both the team’s matches at Nippert Stadium. The Ohio rivals will play in Columbus this season on Aug. 27.
Last season, the Black & Gold only played the Fire twice and got results in both encounters. The two sides played in Columbus last August in the restart of MLS games in home markets as the Crew won 3-0 with Darlington Nagbe’s thunderbolt goal grabbing all the headlines as the eventual MLS Goal of the Year for 2020. The lone meeting in Chicago last season was the Crew’s best comeback result as the team fought back from 2-0 down with two unanswered goals from Fatai Alashe and Gyasi Zardes.
The Black & Gold and Fire will play twice in Columbus this year with the first match on June 19 in what will be the last-ever game at historic Crew Stadium. The team’s first-ever meeting at New Crew Stadium will be on MLS Decision Day on Nov. 7 to end the 2021 regular season. Both of the re-scheduled fixtures will be broadcast locally on Bally Sports Ohio and can be heard on the radio on 97.1 The Fan.
Columbus will be in action this Saturday at historic Crew Stadium to take on Toronto FC. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. ET in what will be the last match for the club before the upcoming three-week international break.
FRI July 9 (previous July 7): FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew (TQL Stadium - 7:30 p.m.)
SUN August 15 (previous August 14): Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew (Soldier Field - 6 p.m.)