FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew – MLS, July 9, 2021
Ohio rivals Cincinnati and Columbus clash for the first Hell Is Real Derby at Cincy’s brand-new TQL Stadium this Friday, July 9.
Ninth-place Columbus makes the trip south-west sitting on 16 points in the Eastern Conference – five points clear of twelfth-place Cincinnati.
Jaap Stam’s men stunned everyone by winning the previous Hell Is Real Derby back in October 2020. Still, the Crew has only suffered one defeat in six MLS meetings with Cincy.
Keep reading to find my FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew prediction and betting pick.
Previewing Friday Night’s Hell Is Real Derby
It is no secret that Colombus has continuously frustrated Cincinnati ever since the Orange & Blue entered Major League Soccer in 2019.
The Crew secured three wins and two draws across the first five MLS games against their new rivals, scoring 12 goals in the process. Caleb Porter’s men also kept three clean sheets in that time.
However, Cincy will be confident of improving their record against Columbus on Friday. Following a poor start to the season, Stam’s men have discovered some form recently – taking seven points from their previous three games.
After sealing back-to-back wins over Chicago and Toronto, Cincy held Houston to a 1-1 draw last weekend.
Here’s a reminder of what happened the last time these two went head-to-head.
It’s fair to say that Columbus made a slow start to the campaign, winning just one of their opening five games (two draws, two losses). But since then, the reigning MLS Cup champions have been hard to beat.
In fact, they have only lost one of their last six matches – picking up three wins and two draws along the way.
Only three players – Gyasi Zardes, Lucas Zelarayan, and Luis Diaz – have scored an MLS goal for the Crew this year, with Zardes (4) and Zelarayan (3) combining for seven.
If attacking stars like Alexandru Matan, Pedro Santos, and Bradley Wright-Phillips begin to shine, Columbus should be able to cement a top-seven spot.
FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew Odds
I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t surprised by the bookies’ odds for this game. Yes, Cincy has the home-field advantage on Friday. But there is no denying that Columbus is the stronger of the two sides.
That said, Stam’s men have upped their game of late. If they can rise to the occasion and perform as they have done in recent matches, they will give themselves an excellent chance of avoiding defeat.
Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew Betting Pick
Having considered everything, I believe the draw is the best bet for FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew.
It feels as though Cincy has turned the corner in recent weeks, so the hosts will be full of confidence on Friday. With a jam-packed home crowed backing them all the way, I can see Stam’s men snatching a point off Columbus.