Columbus Crew midfielder Lucas Zelarayan has garnered MLS Player of the Week honors for Week 34 after tallying a brace in the Crew's 3-1 victory over D.C. United at Audi Field on Saturday.
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Needing a win to keep alive the Club's Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoff hopes, Zelarayan stepped up. It's the recently-capped Armenian international's second Player of the Week nod of the season (Week 6) and fourth overall for a Columbus player (Gyasi Zardes in Week 27 and Week 30).
With Columbus down 1-0 thanks to an early opener from Paul Arriola, Zelarayan equalized right on the stroke of halftime from the penalty spot after also winning the opportunity by drawing a foul on D.C. center back Tony Alfaro.
Teammate Pedro Santos put Columbus ahead in the 66th minute, setting the stage for Zelarayan's dagger 10 minutes later. The 29-year-old Designated Player saved his best for last, running onto a feed from Miguel Berry outside the area and unleashing a highlight-reel finish that curled past the outstretched arms of diving D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
Zelarayan has continued to thrive during his second season in Columbus, with the two-goal effort bringing him up to 11 goals and seven assists in 31 games. He was named 2020's MLS Newcomer of the Year.
The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of the vote. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.