Picture Credits: Columbus Crew
In the match that everyone has had circled on their calendars since the schedule came out, the Hell is Real Derby was finally played. And boy it did not disappoint.
FC Cincinnati should have been ahead just three minutes into the match. After Cincinnati's Brandon Vazquez played a great ball into the box, Alvaro Barreal had the ball inches away from crossing the goal line, forcing Eloy Room into a spectacular save to keep the score level.
After that, Columbus would be on the front foot for the majority of the first half. And within that period, Columbus would take their chance.
Cincinnati's Yuya Kubo pulled back the Black and Golds Lucas Zelerayan, giving Columbus a free kick in a dangerous area. Cucho Hernandez found the pass from Zelerayan's free-kick, heading the ball beautifully into the side netting, giving Columbus a 1-0 victory.
The Black and Gold would dominate the next 15 or so minutes, but would not have anything to show for it. The last 15 minutes of the half belonged to FC Cincinnati, though they would go into halftime with a goose egg on the scoreboard.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair. Neither team could really get a grip on the match. Both teams had little opportunity, and that was how the game would play out until the Black and Gold were awarded a penalty kick after a Lucas Zelerayan shot hit a defender's outstretched arm.
Zelerayan would wrong-foot FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Roman Celletano, giving the Black and Gold a 2-0 lead, and one that would not be squandered.
Columbus Seems To Be Finding Their Stride
Columbus is in the midst of an eight-game winning streak. That, coupled with the arrival of Cucho Hernandez has propelled the Black and Gold up the power rankings and into a playoff position.
The Black and Gold will welcome the Matt Turner-less New England Revolution to Lower.com Field Saturday night on what is Alumni Night for the Crew. The team will honor the 2002 US Open Cup championship team. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.