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Cincinnati out to end home woes against Columbus

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FC Cincinnati has an opportunity to end their home misery when rival Columbus makes its first visit to TQL Stadium on Friday.

Cincinnati (3-5-2, 11 points) has lost all three matches and been outscored 6-2 since debuting its new home on May 16.

The Crew (4-3-4, 16 points) have a win, three losses and two ties in six away matches this season and just one win in the past 18 regular-season road games (1-9-8), a 2-1 victory vs. New York City FC on May 22.

Cincinnati is 2-0-1 in the past three matches and coach Jaap Stam understands the importance of playing the reigning MLS Cup champion that resides less than two hours north.

“We know that we are facing a very good team, a very good side who can play very good football,” he said. “They have theirs strengths but we need to keep continuing what we have been doing the last couple of weeks and the progress we’ve made. It’s going to be a big game for everybody: the fans, for the club, for ourselves as well.”

The Crew will play a third straight in a venue that opened this season. They had a 0-0 draw at Austin FC’s Q2 Stadium on June 27, then came home to tie New England 2-2 on July 3 to christen Lower.com Field.

“This is definitely one of those games that’s a little bit bigger than the others,” Crew coach Caleb Porter said. “We know that, mainly, because of our supporters and how bad they want to beat the city down the street.”

The teams could be missing a total of 16 players due to call-ups to the CONCACAF Gold Cup that starts this weekend and injuries. Cincinnati has defender Ronald Matarrita and midfielder Allan Cruz on Gold Cup duties.

The Crew have six players in the tourney, notably goalkeeper Eloy Room and forward Gyasi Zardes, who has seven goals in six career games vs. Cincinnati.

–Field Level Media

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