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 FC Cincinnati 2

FC Cincinnati 2 Visit In-State Rival Columbus Crew 2 in Matchweek 9 Fixture

May 10, 2024 - MLS NEXT Pro (MLS NEXT Pro)
FC Cincinnati 2 News Release

FC Cincinnati 2 will head north on I-71 Sunday afternoon as they take on Columbus Crew 2 in the first match of a three-game regular season series against their Northeast Division rival. The Orange and Blue are eyeing a fourth-straight win and their first against Crew 2. The match will kick off at 3 p.m. ET and will broadcast live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.


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THREE IN A ROW - FC Cincinnati 2 are rolling after picking up a third consecutive win Saturday afternoon against Crown Legacy FC. It is the first time the Orange and Blue have won three-consecutive matches while being one of three MLS NEXT Pro clubs (Los Angeles Football Club 2, St. Louis CITY2) that carry a three-match win streak into their weekend matchup against Crew 2.

OFFENSIVE CONSISTENCY - FC Cincinnati 2 have scored in all but one match this season, away to Chattanooga FC on March 23, and have scored multiple goals in three consecutive matches. Eight different FCC 2 players have found the back of the net, including FC Cincinnati Academy forward Stefan Chirila who scored his first professional goal last week against Crown Legacy FC.

HE'S THE MAN - Peter Mangione earned the Orange and Blue all three points Saturday afternoon with his second half stoppage time goal. Mangione now has two goals and two assists on the year and has either scored or assisted in three consecutive matches. Mangione's five key attacking passes against Crown Legacy FC sets a career best for the former Nittany Lion and sees Mangione tied for a league lead in the category (18).

HEADING OUT ON THE ROAD - The Orange and Blue will play four of their next five matches away from Scudamore Field. FCC 2 visit Crew 2 and New York Red Bulls II before hosting Inter Miami CF II on May 26. The Orange and Blue are then back on the road against Philadelphia Union II and wrap up the heavy away stretch with a first ever meeting with Carolina Core FC. Those four road opponents hold a combined 4-3-4 record at home heading into Matchweek 9.


After winning MLS NEXT Pro Cup in 2022 and finishing runners up to Austin FC II in 2023, Columbus Crew 2 enter season three with championship aspirations. But it has been a slow start to the campaign by Crew 2's standards as they sit seventh in the Eastern Conference seven matches into the season.

Gibran Rayo, who led Crew 2 with 11 goals in 2023, returns for his second season in Columbus. The 22-year-old forward has scored 25 MLSNP goals and trails only Jack Lynn of Orlando City Soccer Club for the most all-time. Yet the lethal finisher is still looking for his goal scoring form of a season ago as Rayo has yet to find the back of the net in five appearances for Crew 2 in 2024.

Former Crew Academy forward Brent Adu-Gyamfi has helped supplement the attack as Rayo looks to find last season's form. Adu-Gyamfi has scored three goals in seven appearances this season while also leading the team in shots on target (5) and key passes (6). The 18-year-old is looking to take on a larger role for Crew 2 after scoring just one goal in in five starts in 2023.

Adu-Gyamfi is one of five Columbus Crew Academy players to ink MLS NEXT Pro contracts this offseason. Giorgio DeLibera and Cole Mrowka, two academy players signed to contracts, played a prominent role in Columbus' run to the MLS NEXT Pro final in 2023. The pair made a combined 37 starts in 49 total appearances, logging over 3,000 total minutes.

Columbus' MLSNP successes have been attributed to their overwhelming offensive production, averaging 2.3 goals per match through their first two seasons, and stifling defense, allowing just 1.3 goals per match. In 2024, Crew 2 have scored 12 goals while allowing 12 goals, an average of 1.7 goals scored and conceded per match.

Crew 2 appointed Kelvin Jones as the team's new head coach following the departure of Laurent Courtois to CF Montréal. Jones joined the Columbus Crew in 2017, serving as an academy coach before becoming the club's Academy Director in 2020. Jones also managed Columbus' United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) team in 2023 and spent time with the U17 Men's Youth National Team as an assistant coach.

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