·21 August 2023
·21 August 2023
In the battle for Ohio, Columbus Crew came out on top with a convincing 3-0 victory over in-state rivals FC Cincinnati to strengthen their position in the Eastern Conference table.
It was a dominant display from interim head coach Yoann Damet's team, who was filling in for Wilfried Nancy as he served the second of his two-game suspension, and the home side dictated the game with 61% possession and 13 shots to Cincinnati's six.
Additionally, the Crew amassed an xG of 2.01 to Cincy's 0.34, showing they were in full control of the game from start to finish. This was all done without fan favorite and one of the best attacking midfielders the league has ever seen in Lucas Zelarayan, as he departed Columbus for Saudi Pro League Side Al Fateh near the end of the summer transfer window.
"Of course it's a rivalry, of course it's a big derby and of course it means a lot to everyone" Damet said following the game. "But the guys, they just want to keep trusting the process, they just want to perform week-in and week-out."
Several new Crew players have joined in the wake of Zelarayan's departure and will begin buying into Nancy's process, including Diego Rossi, who's expected to fill the Armenia international's shoes, as well as Rudy Camacho and Julian Gressel joining the club in the same window.
"And that's the mindset, enjoying within the team. That relentlessness, trying to be great," said Damet.
Aidan Morris, who put the Crew in front with a beautiful strike from outside the box 15 minutes in, made his feelings known on how the game went against Columbus' rivals.
He said: "There's a lot of weight behind this game. It's not a regular MLS game. For sure that was a statement, especially at 3-0. I think we know what color Ohio is, huh?"
While the 21-year-old is no stranger to big moments and has already featured four times for the US men's national team, Damet believes there is still more to come from the young midfielder.
"We know the qualities of Aidan. He's a young player, we tend to forget that," Damet said of Morris. "He's a young player who still has a lot to work on. But tonight he shows what he's capable of and his potential."
The Crew, now in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 39 points, prepare to take on the struggling Toronto FC at Lower.com field on August 26.