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The Crew’s Lucas Zelarayán, Cucho Hernández named to MLS Team of the Week

Coming off a 2-0 Hell is Real Derby victory, the Black & Gold have two players recognized.

MLS: FC Cincinnati at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Crew has Monday off following the team’s 2-0 Hell is Real Derby victory against FC Cincinnati. That doesn’t mean the news about the Crew also gets the day off. After Massive Report confirmed that forward Miguel Berry is on his way to D.C. United, Major League Soccer announced the league’s Team of the Week and two familiar names popped up on the weekly honor in midfielder Lucas Zelarayán and forward Cucho Hernández. Zelarayán was a starter, while Hernandez was on the bench.

Zelarayán is named to the Team of the Week for the 15th time since joining the Black & Gold in 2020, and the fourth time this year. To start the 2022 season, Zelarayán won the honor three straight weeks on his way to his first MLS Player of the Month Award.

This week, Zelarayán put in a standout performance in Columbus’ rivalry win. In 89 minutes on the field, Zelarayán scored a goal, assisted on another, won five fouls and created four chances.

His goal came in the dying moments of the match, icing the victory for the sellout crowd at Field. Zelarayán shot from the top of the penalty area went off the arm of Cincinnati midfielder Obinna Nwobodo and the referee awarded the Crew a penalty kick. Zelarayán confidently scored from the penalty spot. His assist was a free kick, landing on the head of Hernández.

After playing just three matches for the Black & Gold, Hernández has three MLS Team of the Week honors, making him the first Columbus player to win the weekly honor in his first three weeks on the team. Hernández leaped confidently, sending a headed ball across the goal and inside the right post after the Zelaryán set piece.

Outside of that goal, Hernández was on the field wherever there was action. Cincinnati didn’t have an answer for the Colombian international because if they did double-team him, that gave Zelarayán more space to move.

The combination of Hernández’s play, the Crew being back at home after a tough road stretch to start the year and a rivalry match created an energy that spread throughout Columbus Sunday evening.

Hernández’s goal is his fourth in three matches, making him the first player in MLS history to score his first four goals in less than 90 minutes. So far this season, Hernández has a goal through a chip, a curling long-range effort, a diving header and a leaping header, showing his diverse set of skills and hunger to score goals.

Of the 21 Team of the Week honors given this season, the Crew has at least one player in 12 editions. Also having received the award this season are goalkeeper Eloy Room, defenders Pedro Santos and Jonathan Mensah, midfielders Darlington Nagbe and Aidan Morris, winger Derrick Etienne Jr. and forward Jacen Russell-Rowe.

In that group of nine players, Hernández joins Zelarayán and Etienne as the only members of the club to have their names included in three awards. Zelarayán leads the team with four Team of the Week selections.