2024 Match Reports

FCC exorcises demons, gets first away Hell is Real win

FC Cincinnati captain Lucho Acosta celebrates Kevin Kelsy's goal which gave FCC a 1-0 advantage over the Columbus Crew. Photo by Brian Mack.

FC Cincinnati exorcised some demons Saturday night in the Ohio capital as Lucho Acosta and Kevin Kelsy headlined a season-defining 2-1 victory over rival Columbus Crew in the latest edition of the Hell is Real Derby. This win for FCC is the first time in the rivalry’s history that the Cincinnati side has been able to win in Columbus.

The game started as an outstanding back-and-forth contest between high-level offensive play and great defending from both sides, and that never really let up for the entire match.

Cucho Hernandez and Jacen Russell-Rowe played outstanding for the Crew, as they really pressured the FCC midfield to come out and defend further up the pitch. Cucho’s passing was superb, as usual, and continuously broke through the FCC defense. Those passes went all over the field.

However, in the first half, Matt Miazga, Miles Robinson and Ian Murphy did a great job of being in the right positions to make sure the Crew didn’t get the ball in front of goal in space.

The game changed early on, as Alvas Powell was forced off due to an injury, as Pat Noonan subbed on Dado Valenzuela and moved Yuya Kubo to the right back position. Early in the match, Kubo had some good in-behind runs.

After this sub, the Crew had a small period where they were the major aggressors, getting two great chances but Miazga’s frame and the left post were able to stop the ball from getting in the net. FCC then started to grow back into the game and I’d say were the better side offensively.

Acosta was able to get the ball in space, but wasn’t really able to do the typical Lucho things we’ve come to know from him. He did have some good passes out onto the wings, where Luca Orellano and Kubo had some really good crosses. Orellano in particular had a great first half, as he put the ball in some really good positions for the attackers in the box.

As the second half began, Columbus had a blitz on the offensive end. The opposition had multiple great chances that the team maybe should have capitalized on. That included an instance where Acosta looked to have taken out Alexandru Matan, but the referee and VAR decided the play didn’t deserve another look.

After this initial blitz of pressure, normal service resumed from both sides. The Crew and FCC were both full of wonderful ideas going forward, putting the ball into great spots for their front players. The only question was whether one team would break, and if they did, which would do so first.

That team ended up being Columbus.

In the 74th minute, FCC’s Pavel Bucha was dribbling the ball and laid it off to Acosta. The captain then went to the end line and squared a floated ball to the back post where Kelsy, who had only replaced Corey Baird a mere 10 minutes prior, headed the ball into the back of the net for his first Orange and Blue goal.

FCC wasn’t done either, as only two minutes later, Bucha was once again the catalyst. He picked up the ball following a pass from Orellano and played a one-touch ball to Acosta, who did his magic. Acosta dummied and waited, and then easily passed the ball into the net for the 2-0 advantage.

Following these two goals, Columbus, obviously, looked to get a goal back but didn’t really look like it was going to happen until Diego Rossi appeared to push Kubo in the back, but nothing was called. This allowed Columbus to get the ball in a great position, where Max Arfsten ended up getting the ball, after which he had a wonderfully curled finish from the right side of the box into the net to pull a goal back.

It was squeaky bum time for FCC fans. However, this FCC team was different from last year’s playoff side, as it had Miazga and Robinson, who commanded the box. FCC was able to see out the rest of the match and get a titanic win for Noonan and Co.

Match 12– Columbus Crew vs. FC Cincinnati

Lower.com Field, Columbus, Ohio

Result: FC Cincinnati 2, Columbus Crew 1


FC Cincinnati Starting XI:

CIN: Roman Celentano, Luca Orellano, Ian Murphy, Matt Miazga, Miles Robinson, Alvas Powell (Gerardo Valenzuela 14’), Pavel Bucha, Obinna Nwobodo, Luciano Acosta (C) (Malik Pinto 87’), Yuya Kubo, Corey Baird (Kevin Kelsy 67’)

Substitutes not used: Alec Kann, Nick Hagglund, Kipp Keller, Sergio Santos, Isaiah Foster, Stiven Jimenez

Columbus Crew Starting XI: 

Patrick Schulte, Rudy Camacho, Malte Amundsen, Steven Moreira, Darlington Nagbe (C), Aidan Morris (Yaw Yeboah 70’), Alexandru Matan (Max Arfsten 81’), Sean Zawadzki, Cucho Hernandez, Diego Rossi, Jacen Russell-Rowe (Christian Ramirez 81’)

Substitutes not used: Nicholas Hagen, Will Sands, Derrick Jones, Marino Hinestroza, Taha Habroune, Yevhen Cheberko


CIN – Matt Miazga (Yellow Card) 34’
CIN – Yuya Kubo (Yellow Card) 37’
CLB – Sean Zawadzki (Yellow Card) 38’
CIN – Obinna Nwobodo (Yellow Card) 70’
CLB – Rudy Camacho (Yellow Card) 80’

Next up:
vs Atlanta United, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, TQL Stadium (Cincinnati, Ohio)

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