It’ll be a busy week for Columbus Crew midfielder Lucas Zelarayan coming up. After Columbus plays the Seattle Sounders at Lower.com Field on Aug. 21, Zelarayan will be off to Los Angeles to participate in MLS All-Star festivities. These will begin on Aug. 24 in the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge, one night prior to the All-Star Game against the Liga MX All-Stars.
Zelarayan will be one of eight MLS players competing during the Skills Challenge against the eight men chosen to represent Liga MX in the competition. The Crew midfielder will be joined by MLS stars Javier Hernandez of the LA Galaxy, Nani and Pedro Gallese of Orlando City, Raul Ruidiaz of the Seattle Sounders, Carlos Vela of LAFC, Ricardo Pepi of FC Dallas, and Matt Turner of the New England Revolution.
This eight-man MLS squad will take on a Liga MX team led by Andre-Pierre Gignac and Rogelio Funes Mori in five different challenges that test varying soccer skills. The challenges include shooting, touch, cross & volley, passing and crossbar. Zelarayan certainly excels at all five areas and has shown that throughout the 2021 season.
So far this season, the Crew’s Argentine superstar has played in 17 matches and scored five goals with four of those strikes coming from direct free kicks. He has completed more than 75 percent of his passes this season and has 31 key passes with a long pass accuracy above 60 percent. His numbers and play earned him a nod to the MLS All-Star team to play against his former teammates and rivals from his days in Liga MX.
The five challenges all take inspiration from other leagues’ All-Star events and have detailed video descriptions that you can here. Zelarayan and company will get a chance to really show off their technical abilities with a soccer ball for an evening of good fun before the anticipated All-Star Game the next night.
The MLS All-Stars will face an All-Star team from a different league for the first time with the Liga MX team coming to Los Angeles. The MLS All-Star squad hasn’t won the annual game since 2015 when they defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-1. The last four All-Star Game losses for MLS were to Arsenal, Real Madrid, Juventus and Atletico Madrid respectively.
Zelarayan’s busy week in August will conclude just two days after the All-Star Game when he returns to Columbus for the highly anticipated Hell is Real Derby match at Lower.com Field against FC Cincinnati on Aug. 27.
Pedro Gallese (Orlando City SC, Goalkeeper), Javier “Chicharito” Hernández (LA Galaxy, Forward), Nani (Orlando City SC, Forward), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas, Forward), Raul Ruidiaz (Seattle Sounders FC, Forward), Matt Turner (New England Revolution, Goalkeeper),Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club, Forward), Lucas Zelarayán (Columbus Crew, Midfielder)
LIGA MX Competitors
Rogelio Funes Mori (C.F. Monterrey, Forward), Jonathan Rodríguez (Cruz Azul, Forward), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres UANL, Forward), Rubens Sambueza (Deportivo Toluca F.C., Midfielder), Diego Valdés (Santos Laguna, Midfielder), Orbelín Pineda (Cruz Azul, Midfielder), Alfredo Talavera (Pumas UNAM, Goalkeeper), Nahuel Guzmán (Tigres UANL, Goalkeeper)