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Massive Predictions: Crew vs. FC Cincinnati

The Hell is Real Derby is here and here’s what the Massive Report staff thinks will happen Sunday night

Sam Fahmi - Massive Report

The first Hell is Real Derby of 2022 is here. After 19 matches, the MLS regular season matchup between the Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati takes place at Lower.com Field Sunday night.

There are big questions for both teams. For Cincinnati, can the team adjust without midfielder and June’s MLS Player of the Month Luciano Acosta who is out due to suspension? For the Black & Gold, is this the match where striker Cucho Hernández gets his first start? Also, can Hernández keep up the clip of performances he’s had in his first two matches, scoring three goals in just over 70 minutes?

Those questions, plus the usual excitement around a rivalry game, makes for a dream matchup. Before kick off, the Massive Report staff has ideas on how the match will end. Here’s how the staff has done picking so far in 2022.

Massive Report 2022 Predictions

Name MP Correct Score/Result Correct Result Wrong Result Points
Name MP Correct Score/Result Correct Result Wrong Result Points
Patrick Murphy 20 4 6 10 18
Collin Johnson 19 3 4 12 13
Brian Moracz 20 2 6 12 12
Caleb Denorme 19 1 8 11 11
Theodore Sovinski 13 1 6 6 9
Nathan Townsend 16 1 5 10 8
John Pearson 10 1 4 5 7
Ryan Schmitt 13 1 4 8 7
Drew McDaniel 16 1 4 11 7
Abigail Hintz 6 1 3 2 6
Devin Weisberth 14 1 2 11 5
Thomas Costello 20 0 5 15 5
Kyle Jackson 11 1 1 9 4
Adam Miller 16 0 4 12 4
Tyler Fisher 5 0 2 3 2
Grant Miller 6 0 1 5 1

Let’s see where the staff falls for Sunday’s nationally televised Hell is Real rivalry match.

Adam Miller

The Crew will win this match. After a disappointing points drop on Wednesday, the Black & Gold will look for all three points on Sunday. They’ll find those points thanks to goals from Cucho Hernández and Lucas Zelarayán.
Columbus Crew 3 FC Cincinnati 0


Brian Moracz

The 10th installment of the Hell is Real Derby is upon us, and for the first time in the brief history of the rivalry, both the Crew and FC Cincinnati are playing good soccer. Cincinnati, who has been the darlings of MLS this season, plays an exciting, attacking style of soccer, with an attack that features Brandon Vazquez, Luciano Acosta and Brenner.

However, Acosta, who is in the MLS MVP conversations, is suspended for Sunday’s match. Despite a blistering attack, Cincinnati still has trouble defending, having conceded 35 goals this season, 13 more than its Black & Gold counterparts. The Crew will be able to take advantage of Cincinnati’s poor defending, and with no Acosta, the visitors won’t have an answer. Crew win, with a goal from both Cucho Hernández and Lucas Zelarayán.
Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 0


Caleb Denorme

On Sunday, hell will descend on Columbus as FC Cincinnati comes to Lower.com Field to battle the Black & Gold. This is a must-win game for the Crew. Cincinnati has been solid this year compared to previous seasons but only sit a point above the Black & Gold in the MLS Eastern Conference standings. I think the Crew will pull out a win. I think Cincinnati will strike first but the Black & Gold battle back to take all three points at home.
Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 1


Collin Johnson

The Hell is Real Derby is here and so is maybe the best version of FC Cincinnati that the Crew has faced. With that improved Cincy side comes the highest stakes match in the history of the rivalry. Currently, FC Cincinnati sits one spot ahead of Columbus.

The winner of this game takes home bragging rights and an improved spot in the MLS Cup playoff standings. For Cincinnati, the team has seen much-improved play under manager Pat Noonan. Young striker Brandon Vazquez has jumped onto the scene to give the Orange and Blue a much-needed scoring boost that will come in handy during the suspension of attacking midfielder Luciano Acosta. The Black & Gold are finally (almost) healthy and will have the services of Cucho Hernández for his first home match. Hernández has been an immediate success with his three goals in less than 90 minutes and will certainly need to be at his best if the Crew is to grab a crucial home win.
Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 0


Devin Weisbarth

Perhaps the biggest game of the season sees the Black & Gold enter on a seven-match unbeaten run, coming off a match they feel they should have won. Plus, it’s expected to be a sellout, and FC Cincinnati is without arguably the team’s best player. Columbus will come out with energy, passion and a hunger to beat that team down south. Cucho Hernández scores for the third straight match, and Columbus wins.
Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 0


Drew McDaniel

The Crew is now seven games unbeaten but is playing at home with poor home form. The pessimist might say Columbus might lose this game, but the Cucho Hernández effect will propel the Black & Gold to a victory. FC Cincinnati will take the lead, but the Crew will quickly equalize in the first half.
Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 1


Kyle Jackson

Cincy has four straight draws, three of those at home, while Columbus is back on the offensive front. It’ll be a fun one with Lucas Zelarayán and Cucho Hernández both on the scoresheet.
Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 2


Nathan Townsend

The Crew should be the favorites at home against the team’s rivals from down the road. The Black & Gold haven’t had a comfortable win in a while and, especially with Luciano Acosta suspended, this seems the time to do so. I think Cucho Hernandez continues his scoring tear and Lucas Zelerayan finally gets back on the score sheet with at least one goal.
Columbus Crew 4 FC Cincinnati 0


Patrick Murphy

It’s nice that these days, the Crew actually has a rival and is part of a rivalry that is highlighted by MLS. That will be the case again on Sunday in another Hell is Real Derby.

The Black & Gold haven’t lost in seven but the last two games have been more of a struggle than they should have been against two of the worst teams in MLS. That needs to change on Saturday. If Cucho Hernandez starts, that will give a boost to Columbus but the Crew needs other players to perform and the defense to get back to playing solid.

FC Cincinnati has struggled to hold on to leads this year and has a defense that appears to enjoy giving up goals. The Black & Gold can capitalize on this and move above the MLS Cup playoff line for the first time in a while.
Columbus Crew 3 FC Cincinnati 1


Ryan Schmitt

While the teams haven’t been the best, the Crew has picked up four points in the team’s last two games, with three goals coming from Cucho Hernandez in just under 80 minutes of play. For what may be the first time in the rivalry, FC Cincinnati’s team has a clear plan, which makes the team more dangerous than previously. Despite this, the Black & Gold come into this game in good form and will win with a free kick being the game-winning goal.
Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 1

Thomas Costello

So far in nine matches of Hell is Real, it’s been a toss-up on whether the winning side will narrowly find a way to win or if there will be a rout. Sunday’s match is going to be on the close side.

Even with Cucho Hernández potentially starting, FC Cincinnati will come out strong on the transition and cause challenges for Columbus. Cincinnati goes up first off a Brenner goal, Hernández has another first in his time with the Crew with an assist. The Lucho to Cucho connection continues, and Hernández find Luis Díaz for the first Crew goal. Lucas Zelarayán adds a second.

The Black & Gold, with Jonathan Mensah back from suspension, hold off the Blue and Orange and earn all three points at home.
Columbus Crew 2 FC Cincinnati 1


We’ve shared our predictions, what do you think will happen? Share your predictions in the comments below or share to us on Facebook or Twitter.