COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Hell is Real this weekend in Columbus as FC Cincinnati travels to play the Columbus Crew Sunday, with some new special events making the rivalry a weekend-long event.
And while hell will be real come Sunday, Saturday marked the Heck is Plausible event at Lower.com Stadium, featuring a match-up between Crew 2 and FC Cincinnati 2, which compete in the MLS Next Pro league, operating as reserve teams for their home clubs. The Crew 2 picked up the victory, 5-1.
But the competition is extending from the pitch into the community, with both clubs challenging their fans to donate blood.
Throughout August, fans on both sides donated, culminating with a blood drive at Lower.com Stadium Saturday, held in partnership with the American Red Cross and OhioHealth.
“It’s going to be packed on Sunday for the match,” Columbus Crew Vice President of Communications Rob McBurnett said. “But we were actually sold out here today as well, so it’s great for the passion for our supporters that we basically filled every single registration block to be able to donate blood at a critical time.”
The blood drive comes at a crucial time for the Red Cross as it is in desperate need of donations.
And while the competition is for a good cause, it also comes with a prize: a new trophy designed by each club’s supporters group that will spend the next year in the city of the club with the most donations.
“I don’t want to reveal who’s in the lead at the moment because, as we all know, any contest goes down to the wire and especially one like this, every single donation makes an impact in our community in helping save lives, and that’s what’s most important to us,” McBurnett said.
The blood drive runs through Aug. 25.
“In Columbus, we’re very good at rivalries, and this is just another one to add on to the pile and, you know, if the world works the way it should, we’ll win tonight and we’ll win tomorrow,” Morgan Hughes, former Save the Crew spokesman, said.
But the blood drive isn’t the only other new event this weekend, with the club drumming up fan excitement with an inaugural pig roast before the Heck is Plausible game.
“Apparently, Cincinnati is known for being Hogtown or Porkopolis as a nickname, so they thought it was a little bit of a tongue-in-cheek way to create a rivalry,” Crew 2 General Manager Corey Wray said.
The pig roast, blood drive, and the Heck is Plausible game are all to drum up support for the main event — Hell is Real on Sunday.
“It definitely adds a little bit of anticipation to the match, leading up to the match, and it’s definitely something that we can continue in the future,” Crew forward Jacen Russell-Rowe said.
Sunday’s game is sold out.