clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Crew 2 bury FC Cincinnati 2 in the first reserve Hell is Real Derby match

Jacen Russell-Rowe scores a brace in his return to the MLS NEXT Pro.

Ralph Schudel

Columbus Crew 2 came away with all three points in the first ever Hell is Real MLS NEXT Pro match up. A matchup between the first-place and the last-place teams in the Eastern Conference produced an expected result. Jacen Russell-Rowe made his first start and appearance for the Capybara’s since he signed his senior MLS contract and made a significant contribution.

This match was just a reminder of why Russell-Rowe was given a first-team contract. After 15 minutes of each team feeling each other out, Crew 2 began to dominate the match with Russell-Rowe playing a major role. The striker was stronger and consistently in dangerous positions and difficult for the opposition to dispossess. With two goals in this game, Russell-Rowe has now scored in ten straight games in MLS NEXT Pro.

It was the unlikely duo of center backs Abdi Mohamed and Daniel Strachan who struck first for Columbus. Strachan got his first goal of his MLS NEXT Pro career on a shot from outside the penalty box. The center backs, along with former first-round Justin Malou, provided defensive cover that allowed Cincinnati only four shots and none on goal.

Crew 2 was on the attack again before halftime when Russell-Rowe scored once again for the Black & Gold. Midfielder Isaiah Parente had good vision to play a pass into Russell-Rowe, who collected the ball, put a defender on skates and finally slotted the ball home past a hapless Beckham Sunderland.

The game started to get more chippy near the halftime whistle and continued into the second half. Andrew Akindele ended up getting a second yellow card in the 72nd minute when he cleared out Columbus goalkeeper Brady Scott on a needless foul. New MLS NEXT Pro rules state that Akindele will miss the next match against Crew 2 and not his team’s next match.

As the game wore on, The Black & Gold took full control even before the red card. Columbus ended up with a total of 31 shots and 13 on goal and 65% percent possession.

With continued pressure, captain Marco Micalleto broke through again on a wonderful shot that Sunderland had no chance on. Defender Coleman Gannon made an instant impact with the assist to Micalleto a couple minutes after coming into the match.

Russell-Rowe got his third straight brace in MLS NEXT Pro and moved back up to the top of the Golden Boot race tied with John Denis. The goal that put Russell-Rowe back up top was a poachers goal. Strachan put another good shot on goal that forced Sunderland to parry the ball away, straight to Russell-Rowe who buried it with full confidence.

Being a man up, the CapybaraS kept their foot on the gas and continued to press an outmatched Cincinnati. Russell-Rowe almost scored his third goal, putting a shot on target that forced Sunderland to make a good save. In stoppage time, Russell-Rowe got the ball on a break away in the left channel. After running himself out of scoring position Russell-Rowe, selflessly passed it to an on rushing JT Kamara, passing up a chance to score a hatrick.

FC Cincinnati will need to bring more to the game on Aug. 14 if the team wants to make this game a rivalry, as the Black & Gold thoroughly dominated this match.