The final international break of the 2022 Major League Soccer season has come to an end. Over the last two weeks, three Columbus Crew players were called up to their national teams as center back Milos Degenek and midfielders Kevin Molino and Lucas Zelarayan all saw international action.
It was good to see these players get some action away from the club scene. Let’s take a look at how they did while they were away.
Milos Degenek – Australia
Degenek joined Australia for two international friendlies against neighboring Oceanic rival New Zealand over the international window. He started the first match of the two-leg series and played a full 90 minutes in a 1-0 win on Thursday, Sept. 22. The center back was arguably the best player on the pitch in that match.
Three days later, Degenek was an unused substitute in a 2-0 win in Queensland on Saturday, Sept. 24. Degenek earned his 37th cap with the Socceroos over the break and will now wait to see if his name is one that is selected for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in November.
Kevin Molino – Trinidad & Tobago
Molino returned to the Trinidad & Tobago squad over the international break for the first time since the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage where he featured in all three games before having to leave early after 23 minutes against Guatemala. Trinidad and Tobago traveled to the Chiang Mai province of Thailand where the country opened the 2022 King’s Cup against Tajikistan with a 2-1 loss on Thursday, Sept. 22. Molino started and played a full 90 minutes in the loss.
Tajikistan went on to play Malaysia in the final of the King’s Cup while Trinidad and Tobago went on to play hosts Thailand in the runner-up match on Sunday, Sept. 25. Molino featured as a second half substitute coming on after the halftime break. He helped get the Soca Warriors on the board as his cross in the 61st minute found Finland-based defender Kareem Moses to equalize the match at 1-1. The hosts continued to push for the winner and found it late in the game, handing Trinidad and Tobago a second consecutive loss on the international break.
Lucas Zelarayan – Armenia
Zelarayan reunited with Armenia for the country’s UEFA Nations League matches against Ukraine and Ireland over the break. It was the first time in months that Zelarayan featured for Armenia after a series of injuries kept him out of the side.
The Black & Gold’s No. 10 started and played 82 minutes against Ukraine in a 5-0 loss on Saturday, Sept. 24. The loss did the Mountaineers no favors as they continue to fight their way out of the relegation spot of the League B portion of the UEFA Nations League standings.
Facing relegation, Armenia traveled to Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland on Tuesday, Sept. 27 to face third-place Ireland, who sat only a point above the Eastern European side. With a win needed to keep the nation’s group B aspirations alive, Zelarayan started and played 69 minutes in Armenia’s 3-2 loss against the Irish. As a result of the loss, Armenia was relegated to League C for next season’s UEFA Nations League.
With the conclusion of the international window, the focus shifts back to the Crew’s push for a spot in the 2022 MLS Cup playoffs. The team will return to Lower.com Field on Saturday, Oct. 1 for the team’s final home game of the 2022 regular season against the New York Red Bulls. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.