The Hell is Real Derby is quickly becoming ‘Hellish’ for Paul King and his FC Cincinnati side, having suffered the second loss of the season to their local rivals.
Columbus Crews Past Rivals Cincinnati
Columbus Crew, have once again defeated their closest rivals, FC Cincinnati, in a 1-0 victory at the Nippert Stadium. A Gyasi Zardes goal consigned Paul Kings side to another lose to Columbus Crew having also lost to their state rivals 1-0 earlier in the season.
Coming into the game, FC Cincinnati were in high spirits, having beaten New England Revolution, 6-1 away from home last time out. However, a depleted back four due to international duty,with Alvas Powell, Kendall Watson and Greg Garza missing out, saw that momentum wiped away for Cincy. Yet this didn’t stop them from dominating the early stages, keeping the ball well and threatening the Columbus Crew goal on many occasions in the opening half an hour.
However, Cincinnati lacked the clinical edge they had shown in the previous match and failed to find the opening goal, which instead came through American striker Gyasi Zardes. Experienced right back, Harrison Afful played a cross into the box, deflecting off a helpless Leandro Bertone. The ball fell perfectly for Zardes who had no problem tapping the ball home from less than three yards away giving him his sixth goal of the season.
Cincinnati will certainly feel frustrated, as they continued to pile on the pressure onto Columbus, however, they couldn’t take their chances. With debuts to Connor Randall and Rui Rua, as well as Josh Kim and Jimmy Medranda receiving starts due to the international break, the Cincy side was much changed from the victory over New England. That was clear to see, as despite the shots they had, only one was a decent chance, and it was clearly a disjointed display from Paul Kings side.
“It is certainly disappointing. We had finally managed to get some momentum on our side after that emphatic win over New England, but then the schedule and timing came at the wrong time for us. Losing four key players, three of which make up our back four, to International duty is just very unfortunate. However, we can’t blame that on the loss. We had chances, we just didn’t take them and that isn’t acceptable. With the way we controlled the game tonight, we really should of done more and it is something we will be looking at on the training pitch in the coming weeks.” said Paul King on the result.
Columbus Crew have now lost just three of their past 15 games, winning nine of them, a run that has seen them close the gap between themselves and Cincinnati to just a single point. Having spent a large majority of the season outside of the playoff spots, this recent run has impressed manager Caleb Porter massively.
“The boys have been great recently. We didn’t get off to the greatest of starts, winning just four games in thirteen matches and we felt as though we were letting ourselves down. Thankfully this run has shown our true class and quality. We have beaten some very good sides in the past couple of months, most notably New York City and LA Galaxy. We now look in a strong place to finish in the Playoff spots. I do feel for Paul (King) as he did have a good chunk of his players missing today, but that is football and we took advantage, so yes I am very impressed with how we played today and of late.” commented Caleb Porter, Columbus Crew Head Coach.
With four games remaining in the Major League Soccer regular season, both FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew look set for a Playoff berth. Cincinnati will need just four points from their remaining four games against, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto, Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas. Where Columbus Crew will need five to guarantee their spot with games against New England Revolution, DC United, Sporting Kansas City and Colorado Rapids.
Cincinnati will also play San Jose Earthquakes in that period, in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final. The match will come between an away trip to Toronto and their home match against Real Salt Lake, adding to Paul Kings scheduling woes, with the game coming four days apart from the league fixtures.
With the way the Eastern Conference table currently stands, Cincinnati will have their shot at revenge in the postseason. As it stands the Orange and Blue will host Columbus Crew in the third “Hell is Real” derby in the quarter finals of the Playoffs.
A quite enjoyable game to see, especially after that shocking run of form. Paul will certainly be pleased with the turn around, but following the loss to Columbus Crew, it certainly needs to start becoming more consistent. Adi asked for games, then when he was given them, did nothing and therefore he had to go. Randall is certainly a talent and hopefully will improve our depth, something we have lacked so far.
That would certainly be the aim. As I said to Scott, it is all about getting the consistency now. Winning 6-1 in one game is great but if it means we lose the next couple it isn't good enough!
The run has made King a lot less likely to tolerate players not pulling their weight. Work rate is a big part of his system and that translates from the group he has at the club. Adi wasn't willing to put the work in and when he was given the chance he didn't take it.
Joe Aribo's was great in that game, and to be fair he has been incredible since his arrival. The victory was certainly impressive and now our morale should hopefully be back on the up!