FC Cincinnati 2, Columbus Crew SC 1 | 2020 MLS Match Recap

FC Cincinnati earned their first Hell is Real victory in MLS play over rivals Columbus Crew SC, securing a 2-1 win Wednesday night at Nippert Stadium. They came up short in five previous attempts, and ended a four-game losing streak in the process. 

The Ohio-based rivals exchanged penalty kicks in the first half, starting in the 17th minute when Yuya Kubo dispatched to make it 1-0 and snap a 472-minute scoreless streak for FC Cincy. The chance arose after goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell took out midfielder Allan Cruz when attempting to punch clear a cross.

Columbus equalized at 1-1 just before halftime, when Pedro Santos fired home a PK in the 45th minute. The Portuguese midfielder drew the chance after some deft dribbling ended with center back Tom Pettersson tripping him up.

The deadlock was short-lived after halftime, though, when Nick Hagglund buried a set piece for the 2-1 lead in the 49th minute. FC Cincy captain Haris Medunjanin whipped in left-footed service that the center back launched home with a powerful header.

The Crew poured on the pressure when making three substitutes in the 59th minute, though couldn’t find an equalizer. Kubo was also particularly lively, but exited at the same stage with an apparent leg muscle injury.


  • 17' – CIN – Yuya Kubo (PK) | WATCH
  • 45' – CLB – Pedro Santos (PK) | WATCH
  • 49' – CIN – Nick Hagglund | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: FC Cincinnati desperately needed this victory, not just because of the Hell is Real implications (they were previously 0W-3L-2D in such MLS matches). It gave them their first win since Sept. 19 and could galvanize Jaap Stam’s team as they look to sneak into one of the Eastern Conference’s 10 spots in the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. The mood is more somber from Columbus, as they’re now winless in four straight (0W-3L-1D). Once Supporters’ Shield leaders, that high honor continues to slip away.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: FC Cincinnati’s first-half PK had a cathartic element, especially since it was Allan Cruz who drew the call. The Costa Rican midfielder thought he drew a penalty late in last weekend’s 1-0 loss against Toronto FC, though that was eventually reversed after Video Review. It stood this go-around.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: FC Cincinnati center back Nick Hagglund supplied the game-winner in the 49th minute, marking his first goal with his hometown club. Hagglund also cleared Crew attacks at a high clip, leading the defense during the Orange and Blue's first home victory of 2020.

Next Up

  • CIN: Sunday, Oct. 18 vs. D.C. United (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada)
  • CLB: Sunday, Oct. 18 vs. New York City FC (6 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada)
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