The state of Ohio is perhaps one of the most competitive when it comes down to rivalries, as there are a host of different professional sports teams that exist within its borders.
There are teams competing against each other in a variety of different sports, whilst the state is known for some of the most iconic franchises to have ever existed. Those that follow basketball and the NBA will know about the Cleveland Cavaliers, whilst those who watch American football will instantly know about the rivalry between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns. There are even sports teams that compete in the NHL and the MLB, thus highlighting just how sports-driven the state of Ohio really is.
Furthermore, there are two soccer clubs that are continuing to battle it out and fighting to be the best in the state, with both FC Cincinnati and the Columbus Crew competing against each other in the MLS each season.
Both teams play in the Eastern Conference of the league and this season has seen both sides look to be rather evenly matched in regard to the results that have been obtained.
FC Cincinnati does currently find themselves higher in the league at this moment in time, although this could be down to the fact that they have played a further game than their state rivals, with the team having played a total of 11 games thus far.
Managed by Chris Albright and playing out of the TQL Stadium, the franchise has gone on to win five of their 11 games, however, they have also experienced five defeats, too. Their only draw of the season thus far came against Atlanta United in a game that saw Nick Hagglund be sent off in the 77th-minute.
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) May 8, 2022
Currently, the team is on a fine run of form at the moment, as FC Cincinnati has managed to win its last three games on the bounce, having recorded victories against FC Toronto in back-to-back games, as well as obtaining three points against Minnesota with an exceptionally late goal by Brandon Vazquez.
Indeed, the form comes at a good time for the franchise, too, as they will want to be able to push on and make the MLS playoffs once the postseason arrives. Since making their debut as one of the MLS expansion sides, they are yet to play in the playoffs, having finished 24th, 25th, and 27th overall in the three completed seasons that they have participated in thus far.
Fans will want the teams to be as competitive as possible
Naturally, there will be many who support this Ohio-based soccer club that will be wondering whether the fourth campaign is the charm. Indeed, there will be many that will be hoping that they will be able to represent the state in the postseason for the very first time, especially as sports betting is expected to come to the region imminently.
As mentioned, it is pretty clear that there is a strong affinity for professional sports within the area, as there are a number of iconic teams that have enormous fan bases that are extremely passionate about the teams that they support.
Therefore, with sports betting expected by Ohio citizens to arrive pronto, there will be many that will be cheering FC Cincinnati on and hoping that they will make the MLS playoffs for the very first time in their existence.
However, for those who wish to place a wager and support an organization from the area, then there is always the possibility of backing the Columbus Crew as the team has some history of winning the competition; having done so on two occasions (2008 and 2020).
The Columbus Crew have, though, been struggling more recently since that win in 2020, as they failed to make the playoffs last season after a disappointing campaign that saw them finish 9th in the Eastern Conference and 17th overall, although Caleb Porter’s side did win the Campeones Cup as they won their first continental trophy in the club’s history.
The 2022 MLS season has been a steady start for the Crew, although some would argue that things could be going better for The Black and Gold team to play out of the Lower.com Field stadium.
The team is currently 9th in the Eastern Conference after 10 games played, having won three and drawn four. They have lost three games thus far, as they had a wobble at the beginning of April where they lost each of those in a row.
— The Crew (@ColumbusCrew) May 1, 2022
Nonetheless, the team has managed to rediscover their form and has been able to find some stability in recent performances which have helped their results to improve further. This has included the 3-0 victory against D.C. United recently.
Which team will be the best in Ohio?
Of course, there will be many in Ohio that will be watching with interest regarding how well the MLS clubs that represent the state will do, with it likely that almost everyone would like to see both teams make the MLS postseason.
However, is there a team that is perhaps positioned better than the other at this moment?
Some would argue that FC Cincinnati is, but that could just be based on the current league position. They are only higher because they have been able to acquire an additional three points from the one additional game that has been played at this stage.
But, it is worth noting that whilst both teams missed out on the MLS playoffs last season, the Columbus Crew have better knowledge and understanding of what it takes to get there compared to FC Cincinnati – a side that has never made the postseason and has continually finished rather lowly in the overall league standings since they debuted.
Nonetheless, what we do know is that both teams will be doing their utmost to be the best team in Ohio, which could ultimately provide them with everything that they need to make the MLS playoffs by the end of the current campaign.