EDITORIAL – The 2020 Major League Soccer season has ended. Saturday night, Columbus Crew SC surprised most in defeating Seattle Sounders FC 3-0 in the MLS Cup Final. Lucas Zelarayán was the Man of the Match with two goals and an assist. With two key players out, a shuffled lineup put together an MLS Cup Final performance that will not be forgotten anytime soon.
Lucas Zelarayán and Crew Role Players Overcame COVID, Seattle in MLS Cup
Late in the week, it was announced that Darlington Nagbe and Pedro Santos would be unavailable. Nagbe announced via Twitter that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and Santos has ineligible due to contact tracing.
Enter Derrick Etienne Jr. and 19-year-old Aidan Morris, who was the third youngest ever player to start in MLS Cup. Morris took up the Artur role as Artur was more involved in possession and the attack, normally Nagbe’s job in the double pivot.
The teenager was the better Morris on the night (the other being Seattle’s Jordan Morris), making few mistakes and troubling Nicolas Lodeiro. Captain Jonathan Mensah had a great performance on the night. Eloy Room made a big save and that was all the Black and Gold needed to get the clean sheet.
In the attack, everything was about execution and Lucas Zelarayán being the match-winning No. 10 he was signed up to be. Columbus disorganized Seattle well with quick passing into space centrally. Then off Seattle’s weak backline’s reaction, they found space at the outer edges of the penalty area.
This was on display in the first two goals especially. Zelarayán and Etienne attacked the Alex Roldan side of the field in those plays, with great finishes to beat Stefan Frei. The Seattle center backs couldn’t manage the passing lanes and anticipate plays. Lucas Zelarayán put the finishing touches on the night with the goal to secure the championship in the 82nd minute.
Given the opponent, a performance to match a 3-0 score line, and dealing with two critical absences, this is one of the most impressive wins in MLS Cup Final history. Columbus Crew SC are emphatically deserving of their second star above the crest.