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Anatomy of a Goal: Zelarayan scores another long-range, world-class goal

This week we look at another Lucas Zelarayan’s match-tying golazo, this time against Toronto FC.

Sam Fahmi - Massive Report

Welcome to the Anatomy of a Goal, where each week we dissect one goal (or near goal) from a previous Columbus Crew match.

For match three of the 2022 MLS season, we look at Lucas Zelarayan’s 57th minute goal that tied Saturday’s match against Toronto FC and set the Crew on the path toward a 2-1 victory.

Here is a look at yet another goal from Columbus’ No. 10.

The Black & Gold returned to Columbus following a disappointing draw on the road to the San Jose Earthquakes to reunite with Trillium Cup rivals Toronto. TFC made the trip south on the back of a winless start to the season.

Toronto took control early in the match by throwing out a surprise three-center-back lineup featuring Michael Bradley along the backline. TFC capitalized with a 14th minute Jesus Jimenez goal and took that 1-0 lead to the locker room at halftime.

Zelarayan’s match-tying goal begins with Toronto FC in possession. Zelarayan, from the right, and Miguel Berry, from the left, pressure Bradley and force him into a drop pass to goalkeeper Alex Bono.

Bono hits a long clearance across midfield where Jimenez and Jonathan Mensah battle for position.

Mensah wins the battle and sends a headed ball back into the Toronto half.

Noble Okello steps to Mensah’s clearance and hits a first-touch pass toward Alejandro Pozuelo. Artur steps into the passing lane in hopes of intercepting Okello’s ball.

Artur easily wins the ball and sets the Crew’s possession in motion.

Pozuelo steps to Artur after the Brazilian midfielder has played a quick pass to Pedro Santos.

Santos carries the ball forward until he is met by Pozuelo. He then makes a quick Cruyff turn and heads back toward midfield.

Santos uses the additional space to play a quick pass to Artur who spots Darlington Nagbe a few yards closer to the Toronto goal.

Artur plays a quick pass to Nagbe while Okello moves forward to provide defensive pressure.

Nagbe feels Okello’s pressure and plays a first-touch pass back to Milos Degenek.

Degenek takes a touch forward, spots Jimenez cutting off his passing lane to Nagbe, and quickly resets possession back to Mensah.

Mensah uses his first touch to open up his body to the rest of the field and his second touch to find Steven Moreira on the right flank. Nagbe shifts toward Moreira to provide support.

Jonathan Osorio steps to Moreira leaving Columbus’ right back with a passing lane to Nagbe or back to Mensah. Moreira drops the ball back to Mensah.

Mensah takes a touch and surveys his passing options. This touch gives Jimenez a chance to provide some defensive pressure. Nagbe drops back to provide a passing option and Mensah quickly moves the ball forward to the midfielder.

Nagbe carries the ball forward toward Okello and finds himself with four options. He can play a short diagonal pass to Zelarayan, hit a long pass forward to Luis Diaz, attempt to beat Okello off the dribble or play a pass up the right flank to Moreira.

Nagbe decides to trust himself and uses a burst of speed to get around Okello.

Okello sticks with Nagbe and pressures the Crew midfielder into making a quick pass forward to Diaz. Moreira, providing another passing option on the wing, continues his run and drags Luca Petrasso away from Diaz.

Diaz uses his first touch to redirect the ball to Moreira who is alone on the right wing.

Moreira picks his head up and spots Derrick Etienne Jr. and Berry in the goal box.

Columbus’ right back wastes no time and hits a cross into the box toward Etienne and Berry.

Moreira’s ball is behind Etienne, but the winger is just able to get a touch onto the ball.

Etienne’s touch redirects the ball outside the penalty box toward Zelarayan. Jayden Nelson sets off in a race to beat Zelarayan to the ball.

Nelson and Zelarayan get to the ball at the same time, as the Argentine tees up a shot on goal.

Zelarayan beats Nelson to the ball and sends in a low shot toward the back post.

The ball moves past Nelson and around Bradley, slicing away from Bono and toward the far post.

Bono dives to his left but can’t get to the ball as it inches past his fingertips...

... into the back of the net!


  1. The Black & Gold use their press to force Toronto out of possession and into a long clearance down the field.
  2. Once again the Crew’s center backs and central midfielders are the keys to their offensive possession. The ball cycles back and forth between the two groupings before making its way to the wings and back toward the goal.
  3. Zelarayan makes another very difficult shot look easy. MLS’s expected goals calculation for Zelarayan’s shot was 0.03, which roughly means that shots taken from the same position score about 3 percent of the time.