The Columbus Crew are the new MLS Cup champions, beating Seattle Sounders in the finals, 3-0. A convincing win over the previous champions was Crew’s signature on one of the best seasons in their history.
The Crew was unstoppable in the finals, rolling over the guests from Seattle in the opening 45 minutes. They would score twice in that part of the match, indicating that the trophy would move from West Coast to Ohio.
Lucas Zelarayan was the one who made it all possible for Columbus tonight, with the Argentinian smashing and bashing the Sounders’ defense, creating troubles for Seattle’s backline.
He would deliver the first goal, after just 25 minutes of play. Harrison Afful made a cross to the far post from the right, and Zelarayan took the volley, which beat Seattle’s goalkeeper Stefan Frei. The ball hit Frei but squeezed beneath him to pass the goal line and give the hosts an advantage.
Six minutes later, it was 2-0 for Crew, only this time Zelarayan made an assist. He would pass a low cross to Derrick Etienne Jr., who made a beautiful curle to the far post of Frei’s net.
At that point, it was already clear that Columbus has everything in its hands and that it would be very tough for the champs to defend the throne. There wasn’t anything notable until halftime, and the teams headed on a break without changing the result.
Seattle’s head coach Brian Schmetzer decided to make four changes in the first 15 minutes of the second sequence, hoping that some of them might spark some changes on the field. Truth to be told, the Sounders had a few chances, with Jordan Morris hitting the crossbar, Cristian Roland missing a nice header, and also with Nicolas Lodeiro’s shot in the 71st minute.
2020 Newcomer of the Year.
2020 MLS Cup MVP.
2020 MLS Cup Champion.
— CHAMPIONS OF MLS (@Sanch2020) December 13, 2020
After they failed to convert any of them, Zelarayan added his second of the day. He received the ball a little bit inside the box, straight ahead of the goal, and fired a laser-precise shot to the upper left corner of Frei’s net. There was no way for Seattle’s goalkeeper to stop that attempt.
Zelarayan was named the MLS CUP MVP following the match, as he ended the playoffs with two goals and five assists, being the key figure in Columbus’ title quest, the first since 2008.