One of MLS' newest rivalries will take center stage as teams inch closer to the MLS Cup final.
Supporters' Shield winners FC Cincinnati will take on the Columbus Crew in the most prestigious edition of the Hell is Real derby yet. The pair will compete for the Eastern Conference title and a berth in next week's MLS Cup final, which the winner of this matchup would host.
Here's what to know before tuning in.
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How to watch and odds
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 2 | Time: 6 p.m. ET
- Location: TQL Stadium -- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Live stream: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+
- Odds: FC Cincinnati +120; Draw +240; Columbus Crew +220
FC Cincinnati: The regular season's best team is exactly where one would expect them to be, but their run to the Eastern Conference final has been a dramatic one. They ousted the New York Red Bulls in the first round, first in a routine 3-0 win and then after coming back from behind in New Jersey before winning the series on a penalty shootout. Cincinnati also left it late in the conference semifinals against the Philadelphia Union, when Yerson Mosquera scored the game's lone goal in the 94th minute.
Coach of the year Pat Noonan will lean on MVP Luciano Acosta to lead the way, but Cincinnati will be without defender of the year Matt Miazga after he picked up a three game suspension for gaining unauthorized access to a space reserved for referees after his side's win at the New York Red Bulls.
Columbus Crew: The team's first year under head coach Wilfried Nancy has been a success story thanks to their third place finish during the regular season and a run to the Eastern Conference final. The Crew needed all three games but succeeded on home turf and advanced over Atlanta United in the first round, and then picked up a 2-0 victory on the road against a 10 man Orlando City team to book a meeting with their rivals.
Cucho Hernandez followed up his 16 goal, 11 assist regular season showing with four goals during their postseason run, and will no doubt be the person to count on for the Crew. The Best XI selectee should also be joined by Diego Rossi, who has one goal and three assists in the playoffs.
Expect a closely contested affair between two sides with plenty of firepower that Cincinnati will eventually see out thanks to Acosta's fine form and the home field advantage. Pick: FC Cincinnati 1, Columbus Crew 1; Cincinnati advance on penalties