Columbus Crew SC

Lucas Zelarayan targets MLS Cup with the Columbus Crew in 2022

Lizzy Becherano
Lucas Zelarayan expects big things from Columbus Crew this season
Lucas Zelarayan expects big things from Columbus Crew this season / Emilee Chinn/GettyImages

Columbus Crew midfielder Lucas Zelarayan expects big things from the 2022 Major League Soccer season, targeting playoffs and the championship straight off the bat. 

Since his arrival from Liga MX side Tigres UANL in 2019, the Designated Player has led Columbus to two trophies and earned an MLS Cup MVP title for himself. But the midfielder insists it’s not enough. 

“I think any time the season starts, you begin with high hopes,” Zelarayan said through a translator during 2022 preseason preparations. “We hope that it’s a great year and we can reach our objectives, which is reaching the playoffs and fighting for a championship. We will work until we can raise the name of Columbus.”

Columbus Crew head coach Caleb Porter also sees great things with Zelarayan on the roster. 

“Part of the equation is where can Lucas be effective within our team,” Porter said. “Because we need him to be effective when he plays in order to have the best chance to win. So all that [has gone] into the equation of looking at shifting his role, not that we’ll do it every game. But we want to be flexible tactically, like I said. Don’t get me wrong, Lucas Zelarayan is going to be a key player for us.”

The Designated Player has recorded 18 goals and 11 assists across 48 regular-season games for Columbus, prompting the team to offer a contract extension. He will now remain as a DP through the 2024 season, with an option for 2025. 

“It’s a club that has treated me great from the very first minutes and I feel comfortable here,” Zelarayan said. “My family and I, we both like the city. I like my teammates, the training center, the new stadium and there’s a lot of things that made me want to stay here. So I’m glad that I renewed.

"As I mentioned before, I really hope to continue to achieve big things with this club.”

Columbus returns to action on February 26 when hosting the Vancouver Whitecaps at Field to their 2022 MLS season opener.