Columbus Crew SC made its presence felt in Week 1 of the MLS is Back tournament in an absolutely dominating performance against rivals FC Cincinnati. The Crew outscored every other MLS club during the week of competition, running up a 4-0 victory.
But it was the first goal of the contest, scored by club-record signing Lucas Zelarayan that
caught demanded the attention of the league.
Opponents of the Black & Gold may need to think twice before awarding free kicks to Columbus outside of the penalty box with the arrival of Zelarayan. In the 27th minute of Saturday’s match, the Argentine midfielder was fouled and subsequently delivered an absolute banger of a goal, perfectly curling the ball to the top right corner of the goal, off the post and into the net to give the Crew an early 1-0 lead.
“I always like to take free kicks and I think it’s something I’ve been improving on with time,” Zelarayan said of the goal after the game, “The only way to improve is by training every day and I’m happy that today I could score a beautiful goal. We were all waiting for this tournament for a long time and it wasn’t easy to go through those four months without soccer, so it was really special to return with a goal and a win for the team.
“When I get on the ball the only thing I think is that it will be a goal. I try to picture myself celebrating it and I’m happy that was what actually happened in the end.”
To the shock of absolutely nobody, MLS announced on Wednesday morning that the Goal of the Week honors went to the Black & Gold’s own Lucas Zelarayan.
Crew fans can expect more highlight reel moments from Columbus’ new star, as both Zelarayan and head coach Caleb Porter never had a doubt the ball was getting past Cincinnati goalkeeper Pryzemyslaw Tyton.
“I called it to the coaches on the bench before he hit it because I’ve seen that goal on film a bunch of times.” Porter said of the goal. He went on to state that he had witnessed multiple similar goals scored off free kicks during the scouting process of Zelarayan.
The goal was the first of many for Columbus during late night match-up, whose 4-0 victory awarded the club four spots on the MLS Team of the Week.
Also of note, the runner up goal of the week was scored by the man Lucas Zelarayan replaced, former Columbus Crew No. 10 Federico Higuain, scoring a classic “Pipa chip” for the MLS veteran’s new club, D.C. United.
The Crew return to the pitch Thursday, July 16, at 10:30pm taking on the New York Red Bulls in match two of the MLS is Back tournament.