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Crew’s Lucas Zelarayán, Derrrick Etienne Jr. earn MLS Team of the Week honors

Zelarayán and Etienne impressed in Crew's 2-1 victory against Toronto FC and have awards to show for it.

Ralph Schudel & Sam Fahmi

The 2-1 Saturday victory for the Columbus Crew against Toronto FC left supporters at Field on a high, albeit a little frozen from the temperatures. As the weather improved in Ohio’s capital city on Monday, so did the acclaim for the Black & Gold. Monday, Major League Soccer included not one, but two Crew players in its Team of the Week. Joining playmaker Lucas Zelarayán, who makes his third consecutive Team of the Week, is Columbus winger Derrick Etienne Jr.

Zelarayán was named to the starting 11 of the Team of the Week after his 56th minute laser shot put Columbus level with the visitors from up north. That means the Argentine has now received the honor each of the weeks of the young MLS season.

On top of securing the honor for the 14th time since joining the Black & Gold in 2020, Zelarayán’s third straight Team of the Week honor is a best for him. Columbus’ No. 10 now has 14 matches where he has either scored a goal or assisted and the Crew walked away with all three points. In the 20 matches where Zelarayán has directly contributed in goalscoring, the Black & Gold have only lost twice.

The impact of Zelarayán in 2022 is undeniable. The playmaker leads the league in goals with four and is only one behind in assists with two. This form isn’t new either as Zelarayán ended the 2021 campaign with five goals and two assists in his last five matches of the season.

On the bench of the MLS Team of the Week was Etienne. Even though Etienne had a performance that included not only the match-winning 65th minute goal but the assist on Zelarayán’s, it wasn’t enough to be in the starting 11, according to the league.

Etienne’s impact this year has been undeniable too. Coming into 2022 with plenty of confidence has translated into goals. In three matches, the Haitian international has two goals and two assists, already eclipsing his 2021 goal total of one.

In the 65th minute on Saturday, Etienne received a pass from captain Jonathan Mensah in an open area in the penalty area. Although there was less defensive pressure, the bouncing ball made for a difficult finish. Etienne showed composure in striking the ball midair, putting the Crew up for good for the team’s second win in three matches, and seven points out of nine possible.

This Team of the Week honor is the second for Etienne. His first came in Week 6 of the 2020 MLS season, the first week back from the MLS is Back Tournament. There’s an argument to be made that this shouldn’t be his first of the season either. In the home opener two weeks ago, Etienne tormented the Vancouver Whitecaps defense, scoring a goal and putting himself into multiple positions to add a second. Fortunately for the 25-year-old winger, if this production continues throughout the year, there are more accolades ahead.