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Crew’s Lucas Zelarayan selected to 2021 MLS All-Star team

Zelarayan will play with the best in MLS against the Liga MX All-Stars.

From left to right: Pedro Santos, Lucas Zelarayan, Artur and Milton Valenzuela
Courtesy of Columbus Crew

Lucas Zelarayan is an MLS All-Star. The Columbus Crew’s Argentine playmaker was selected as one of the 28 players to represent Major League Soccer in its annual All-Star Game on Aug. 25 against the Liga MX All-Stars in Los Angeles. Zelarayan’s inclusion, in just his second season in MLS, was determined by the combined fan, media and player votes.

The former Tigres player was signed by the Crew prior to the 2020 season, was the club’s record signing and has delivered since stepping on the pitch in MLS. Last season, Zelarayan was crucial in the Black & Gold’s run to winning MLS Cup with eight regular season goals and nine assists before his best performance for the Crew in the Final. This helped him earn MLS Newcomer of the Year for 2020.

In the MLS Cup Final last December against the Seattle Sounders, Zelarayan scored two goals and assisted another at historic Crew Stadium to earn Columbus its second MLS Cup title while winning the MLS Cup MVP. He is one of only two players in league history to have three goal contributions in an MLS Cup Final, with the other being Black & Gold legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

Zelarayan continued the play from his debut season in 2021 with more clutch performances and accolades through the first half of the year. The Argentine leads Columbus with five goals, four of which came from direct free kicks, which two shy of tying the MLS single-season record. He was been featured on multiple occasions on the MLS Team of the Week and won the MLS Player of the Week after scoring two free kick goals in a 2-1 road win against New York City FC.

The Argentine also played in the CONCACAF Champions League this year with a notable performance in Columbus in April against CF Monterrey, his former club’s arch-rival. He scored and assisted on goals in the match, which ended in a 2-2 scoreline with a late equalizer from Rayados. Zelarayan will be one of the few players on the MLS All-Star team that played against or with some of the Liga MX All-Stars.

Zelarayan is the first Crew player to be named an MLS All-Star in three years when Zack Steffen earned the honor. He becomes the 24th different Black & Gold member to be named an All-Star and the first outfield player to join that squad since Wil Trapp in 2016. Columbus had other players like Jonathan Mensah and Eloy Room that were in the conversation to make the squad but were not selected. It’s been 11 years now since the Crew had multiple All-Stars in the same season.

The 28 MLS All-Stars will convene in Los Angeles on Aug. 25 for the game against the best of Liga MX. The match will take place two days prior to the Crew’s home game against FC Cincinnati at Field.

MLS All-Star Squad

Goalkeepers: Matt Turner (New England Revolution), Pedro Gallese (Orlando City)

Defenders: Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC), Yeimar (Seattle Sounders), Kai Wagner (Philadelphia Union), James Sands (NYCFC), Alex Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Nouhou (Seattle Sounders), Jesus David Murillo (Los Angeles FC), Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy)

Midfielders: Lucas Zelarayan (Columbus Crew), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Emmanuel Reynoso (Minnesota United), Joao Paulo (Seattle Sounders), Damir Kreilach (FC Dallas), Carles Gil (New England Revolution), Eduard Atuesta (Los Angeles FC)

Forwards/Wingers: Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC), Daniel Salloi (Sporting Kansas City), Raul Ruidiaz (Seattle Sounders), Diego Rossi (Los Angeles FC), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas), Nani (Orlando City), Chicharito (LA Galaxy), Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes), Tajon Buchanon (New England Revolution), Gustavo Bou (New England Revolution)

Head Coach: Bob Bradley (Los Angeles FC)