Quick start sends Crew to 3-0 romp over Cincinnati

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Aidan Morris scored an early goal and Cucho Hernández added a penalty-kick score as the Columbus Crew started fast and beat FC Cincinnati 3-0 on Sunday night as league play resumed after a five-week layoff for Leagues Cup play.

Morris scored his fourth goal of the season for Columbus (11-7-6) when he took a pass from Yaw Yeboah in the 15th minute, connecting from 20 yards out for the early lead. Hernández stretched the Crew’s lead eight minutes later with his sixth goal this season after Álvaro Barreal was tagged for a hand-ball violation.

Obinna Nwobodo picked up a yellow card in first-half stoppage time for Cincinnati (15-3-6). It was his eighth of the season forcing him to sit out next week’s match against New York City FC.

Jacen Russell-Rowe scored in the sixth minute of stoppage time to complete the scoring. The 20-year-old forward used an assist from Christian Ramírez to net his third goal of the season and career. Ramírez has contributed to a goal in a career-high five straight matches for the Crew — 3 goals, 4 assists.

Patrick Schulte finished with three saves to earn the clean sheet for Columbus. Roman Celentano stopped six shots for Cincinnati.

Cincinnati, which entered play as the Supporters’ Shield leaders after piling up 51 points through the first 23 matches, fell to 2-6-4 all-time against their in-state rivals.

Columbus has never lost at home to Cincinnati, winning four straight. The Crew are unbeaten in their last 11 matches in all competitions at home (7-0-3) and 15-1-7 in their last 22.

FC Dallas (2010) remains the only team in league history to lose just two of its first 24 matches. Cincinnati’s point total after 23 matches was the second highest in league history behind the 52 of Los Angeles FC in 2019.

Cincinnati returns home to host New York City FC on Saturday. Columbus will host Toronto FC on Saturday.

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