I-71 Series between Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati, 2021, gets underway tonight at new TQL Stadium in the Queen City

Columbus Crew heads south to take on FC Cincinnati in the first #HellisReal rivalry match of the 2021 regular-season, with FC Cincinnati currently standing five points back of the Black & Gold, who hold 16 points in the Eastern Conference (7:30 p.m. ET / Bally Sports Ohio / 97.1 FM The Fan).

The Crew has won three of the six MLS meetings between the two sides, with two of the six ending in a draw. FC Cincinnati took a 2-1 decision last October for their first regular-season victory against Columbus.

Friday’s match will be the first rivalry match at TQL Stadium, where Cincy has yet to record a victory. All 11 points FC Cincinnati has collected this season have come on the road. Cincinnati has lost six straight home matches dating back to the end of last season, one shy of equaling the longest home losing streak in the post-shootout era (since 2000), set by FC Cincinnati themselves from July to September 2019.

TQL Stadium from sky in Cincinnati (courtesy FC Cincinnati)

Columbus drew its last road match at Austin FC and dropped at 1-0 decision on the road at Philadelphia prior to that, with the Club’s last road victory coming vs. NYCFC on May 22 thanks to a game-winning brace from Lucas Zelarayan.

Cincinnati comes into Friday’s match on a hot streak, of sorts, as they managed to score in all three matches of their recent road trip, the first time the club has managed to find the net in three straight regular-season matches, home or away, since a run of eight straight games with a goal from June to September 2019.

Unfortunately for the Crew, the Club will be without forward Gyasi Zardes, who currently is training with the U.S. Men’s National Team ahead of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup. No player has scored more goals against a single opponent than Zardes against FC Cincinnati (7) since Cincinnati joined MLS in 2019.

Kickoff on Friday is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET.

COURTESY COLUMBUS CREW COMMUNICATIONS

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