Connect with us


HELLISREAL! Cincinnati finally win in Columbus!


FC Cincinnati has been looked upon as the little brother by Columbus Crew players and fans since they entered MLS in 2019. After last year’s loss in the Eastern Conference finals, FCC wanted to show they can beat their bitter rivals and shake the label of little brother. And Saturday night in Columbus, they emphatically outplayed their foe in a thrilling 2-1 win at field. This was the first #HELLISREAL for 2024.


Goals by Luciano Acosta, the reigning LMS MVP, and newcomer, 19 year old Kevin Kelsy, propelled the Orange and Blue to arguably their best showing of the year! A late goal tacked on by the Crew’s Max Afsten ended the scoring.

Courtesy of FC Cincinnati’s home page.

What’s it mean?


With the victory, FCC stay three points behind the Eastern leader, Miami, while the Crew dropped into the 8th spot. Acosta is continuing his MVP-type march through 2024 (Hello, US Men’s National Team!!) even though the start to the year for FCC has been riddled with injuries and trying to fit up to six new starters into roles!


Columbus is left to wonder what the run for the CONCACAF Champions Cup championship might be worth if they miss the playoffs. Seattle won the Cup in 2022 and watched the entire playoffs from their living rooms! But it is early in the season, so time will tell. But the bottom line is this team has lost or drawn seven games so far this season.


Lineups for HELLISREAL







Cincy has given up only ten goals this year behind the trio of Matt Miazga, Miles Robinson and Ian Murphy who have been outstanding this year. Throw in the fact that Alec Kann started 3 games in goal with Celentano out and you have a group that works well as a unit.


And that unit dominated the first half!


First Half of HELLISREAL


The Crew were first to have a good look. Cucho Hernandez, who has not always been available for matches this year, lofted an arching ball that found teammate Diego Rossi meters from the goal. His one-timer saw Cincinnati net-minder, Roman Celentano, parry it away.


Each time the Crew thought they had something working only to see the stout Orange and Blue defense shut it down with a steal or a well-timed tackle. In fact the possession at the end of the first half was almost equal, as FCC was throwing Columbus’ style of play right back at them.


At the very end of the half, Acosta found Yuya Kubo in the box. His right-footed shot was barely saved by Crew goalkeeper, Patrick Schulte.


Second Half of HELLISREAL


Rossi, who has yet to score in MLS for the Crew, had a header just nick the top of the crossbar. Later, Luca Orellano, one of the new faces for FCC this year, snuck behind the Crew defense and his shot was swatted away by Schulte. The resulting corner yielded nothing.


In the 60’ Columbus’ Aidan Morris found himself with the ball at the top of the 18 and his rifled shot scurried just to Celentano’s right side. But in the 70th minute, FCC struck gold with their new teenager!


Hi, Kevin!



Acosta is the player Cincy rides every game. He was nursing a small nick but was determined to play in the HELLISREAL part 1, 2024. In the 74’ Acosta snaked his way to the end line and quickly lofted a ball that just missed Schulte’s outstretched hands. But Kevin Kelsey, the 19 year old phenom who had just entered a few moments prior, out jumped two Crew players and headed his first goal for Cincy! From the father to the son!



The MVP 



Two minutes later, the Cincinnati captain said, “Son, let me show you how it’s done!” Pavel Bucha, the new defensive midfielder who is showing signs of fitting in nicely with Acosta, sent a perfect pass to the captain and two touches later the score was 2-0!


Crew grab one back!



Max Afsten, the Crew forward, was the recipient of a ball that bounced off Murphy and a quick two-touch made the score 2-1. But Cincinnati held off the final six minutes of added time and enjoyed their first win on Columbus soil!


Pat Noonan’s presser was complimentary of his team, coaches and the fans who not only traveled to Columbus but also those who gave the club a sendoff!


“Especially for those that were up top – thank you for the traveling fans. They were outstanding tonight. Thank you for those supporters’ groups who sent us off in such a unique way from MHTC yesterday. That was special.

“And now you start to see in those moments just the love they have for this team and it’s nice to share the joy of a moment like tonight. I know it’s just one game, but to see what it means to them, that matters.”



Next Games



Will be on the road for the next five MLS games. In fact, they won’t be back in Columbus for a game until June 22! Their next game is in Montreal, Wednesday at 7:30 PM.



Has a home game with Atlanta, Wednesday evening at 7:30 PM. But keep July 6th open. That’s when Miami and Messi come into Cincinnati! What a game that could be!

The next HELLISREAL will be in Cincinnati, September 14th!


I am a math teacher in SW Ohio. Born and raised in NE Ohio, I am married with four sons who keep the flame burning for all things Cleveland. I cover soccer, betting, football and anything that focuses on the human side of sports.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





Show Your Team Spirit

NEO Sports Insiders Newsletter

Sign up to receive our NEOSI newsletter, and keep up to date with all the latest Cleveland sports news.

Recent Comments


More in Main