Despite missing two or more games on three separate occasions during the 2020 regular season, the impact of Lucas Zelarayan cannot be overstated.
When we take into consideration the circumstances of Zelarayan's production, as well as his chance creation on a per-90-minutes basis, it is not difficult to see a direct correlation between his play and the Crew posting one of the best regular-season points-per-game averages in Club history (1.78).
In only 12 starts, Zelarayan recorded six goals and four assists. Of those combined 10 goal-scoring creations, Zelarayan totaled five game-winning plays, three of them being game-winning goals and two being game-winning assists.
Of course, his first season with Crew SC started with a bang, as Columbus took down the reigning Eastern Conference regular-season champions in New York City FC on March 1 at MAPFRE Stadium.
HIGHLIGHT | Zelarayan opens his Crew scoring account in game-winning fashion
Zelarayan's form continued in the group stage of the MLS is Back Tournament, starting with a one-goal, two-assist performance against FC Cincinnati on July 11 before following that up with another goal against the New York Red Bulls, Columbus's Round One opponent in the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.
HIGHLIGHT | Another Zelarayan game-winner vs. FC Cincinnati
Following the Crew's MLS is Back exit, the 28-year-old missed seven of the next 13 matches and featured for 60 minutes or more in just seven of the remaining 16 regular-season matches.
Results-wise, his presence shows in the Crew's record, as the Club is 7-2-3 when Zelarayan starts and 3-3-1 when he does not play. Notably, when Zelarayan scores, the Crew are a perfect 6-0-0, with Columbus's 2-1 win over Atlanta United being the most recent example.
HIGHLIGHT | Zelarayan opens, closes regular season with goal at MAPFRE Stadium
In addition to leading the team in dribbles completed with 40, Zelarayan's 2.7 goal-scoring chances per 90 minutes marks the highest rate on the team, according to Opta.
Lastly, his play has consistently been lauded by MLSsoccer.com writers and pundits as the Argentine has been named to MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week on five separate occasions, the most of any Crew player this year.