Columbus Crew vs FC Cincinnati: Preview and Prediction

In form teams Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati will face off this weekend in MLS at the Field.

In a clash between two in-form sides, Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati will lock horns at Field on Saturday for matchday 12 of the 2023/24 Major League Soccer season.

Columbus Crew enter the game without a defeat in their last nine matches across all competitions. Their recent victory over CF Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League saw them secure a 3-1 win, with goals from Aidan Morris, Diego Rossi, and Jacen Russell-Rowe overturning an early own goal to earn a spot in the final. Despite a recent draw against CF Montreal, Wilfried Nancy’s side remains a formidable force, especially at home, where they are unbeaten in seven consecutive matches.

On the other hand, FC Cincinnati arrive at Field with confidence, having clinched three straight wins, including a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Orlando City SC. Luciano Acosta’s early goal proved decisive in securing the three points for Pat Noonan’s men. With 21 points from 11 matches, FC Cincinnati currently sits second in the Eastern Conference, with the best away record in the league.

As both teams aim to maintain their impressive form, Saturday’s showdown promises to be an intriguing battle between two Eastern Conference contenders. The Hard Tackle delves into the potential elevens and tactics for this highly-anticipated clash.

Team News & Tactics

Columbus Crew

The Crew will take to the field sans the injured Evan Bush, while Mohamed Farsi is also likely to be recovering from a knock. They have an otherwise fully fit squad to choose from for what should be a crucial game.

Speaking after the win in the CONCACAF Cup semifinals, Wilfried Nancy stated that his side should push to fulfil their potential. They are nine points behind Eastern Conference leaders Inter Miami but have two games in hand. Winning on the night will help build momentum as they aim to move  up the standings.

A 3-4-3 formation is to be expected, with Patrick Schulte in goal and the trio of Sean Zawadzki, Yevhen Cheberko and Malte Amundsen forming the back three. Derrick Jones and Aidan Morris should form the midfield in the centre of the park, with Farsi and Maximilian Arfsten providing the width.

Marino Hinestroza and Alexandru Matan should don the role of dual number tens, with Jacen Russell-Rowe leading the line after impressing from the bench last time around.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Schulte; Zawadzki, Cheberko, Amundsen; Farsi, Morris, Jones, Arfsten; Matan, Hinestroza; Russell-Rowe

Columbus Crew vs FC Cincinnati: Preview and Prediction.

FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati will be without American defender Bret Halsey for this matchup, as he received a red card in their recent victory over Orlando City. Additionally, Aaron Boupendza will miss out due to a jaw injury, marking his second consecutive absence from the squad.

Yamil Asad is also out injured while the trio of DeAndre Yedlin, Luciano Acosta, and Sergio Santos are all doubts as they seek to recover from knocks. Cincinnati are likely to deploy in a 3-4-4 formation with Roman Celentano in goal. He should be protected by the back three of Miles Robinson, Matt Miazga and Ian Murphy.

Obinna Nwobodo and Pavel Bucha will form the central midfield duo, with Luca Orellano and Yedlin providing the width on the flanks. Luciano Acosta should don the number 10’s role, with Yuya Kubo and Corey Baird pushing higher up. Acosta scored 17 seconds into Cincinnati’s 1-0 win over Orlando last weekend, the quickest goal ever scored in MLS history. They will hope for a similar start this time around.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Celentano; Murphy, Miazga, Robinson; Orellano, Bucha, Nwobodo, Yedlin; Acosta, Kubo, Baird

Columbus Crew vs FC Cincinnati: Preview and Prediction.

Ways to Watch

Key Stats

  • Both Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati have conceded just nine goals this season, the least for any side in MLS currently.
  • Columbus have lost just once in MLS all season, a tally equalled only by St. Louis City SC across both conferences.
  • Columbus have drawn six of their 10 games in MLS so far, the most of any side in the Eastern Conference.
  • Victory will see Cincinnati extend their winning streak to three in away games this season.

Player to Watch

Cucho Hernandez

The Columbus Crew top scorer this season is likely to make way for Jacen Russell-Rowe in the playing XI but should be a reliable option off the bench for Wilfried Nancy. In a game between two evenly matched teams, the smallest of margins can make the difference.

Hernandez will be raring to make an impact and should be a potential match winner for the home side. It will not come as a surprise if he finds himself on the scoresheet once again, even if it is off the bench.


Columbus Crew 2-1 Cincinnati FC

The game is likely to be a close one but Columbus Crew will be on a high following the win in the CONCACAF Cup semi-finals. They will be keen to rise up the standings and should start the game with the forward foot. The Hard Tackle predicts a close win for the home side as they seek to turn their league campaign around.

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