Crew wants slide against rival Cincinnati. break up

The games between FC Cincinnati and the Columbus Crew are known as the “Hell is Real” rivalry after being labeled with this biblical message that appears on I-71 about halfway between the cities of Ohio.

As for the fighting crew (6-9-6, 24 points) and Cincinnati (3-8-8, 17 points), the reality was that their game was hellish as they prepare for Friday’s meeting in Columbus .

The Crew is the first MLS Cup titleholder to lose six straight games since the Los Angeles Galaxy lost seven straight playoff spots in the Eastern Conference in 2006.

Cincinnati have survived 10 games (0-3-7) without a win, the longest stretch since joining the MLS in 2019.

“It will be another intense meeting,” said Cincinnati coach Jaap Stam. “It has always been like that, but the meaning of the game itself is very important in relation to where both teams are and what they want to do and achieve.

“These games are not just about the result, but also about the pride and honor of the team itself. That’s the way it should be.”

In Columbus, despite winning the title in December and Lower.com Field’s debut on July 3rd, things have gotten so grumpy that some fans want coach Caleb Porter fired.

“I am bitterly disappointed. I know the fans are disappointed,” said Porter. “There is no one in this club who suffers more than me and the players. There is no one who cares more. That is my job. I live and eat and breathe and sleep every day.”

The crew will be without striker Gyasi Zardes and midfielder Kevin Molino due to injury. Molino has torn a cruciate ligament and is expected to be absent for 9-12 months, while Zardes is out for a few weeks with a thigh injury.

Midfielder Lucas Zelarayan may not be available or have a limited role after playing 30 minutes for the MLS All-Stars against the Liga MX All-Stars in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

–Field-level media

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