Lucas Zelarayán struck twice in the waning minutes against NYCFC last weekend. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Having already shown off his free kick prowess in a high-profile setting in his first MLS season, Lucas Zelarayán of the Columbus Crew stepped into the league’s pantheon of free kick wizards with his performance last weekend.

With his club down a goal in the 82nd minute at New York City FC, Zelarayán ripped a stunning free kick past the wall and into the roof of the net for the equalizer. Then in stoppage time, Zelarayán stood over the ball on the other side of the field near the edge of the penalty area, and curled a masterful effort inside the near post for the match-winner in the Crew’s 2-1 victory.

Zelarayán became the sixth player in Major League Soccer history to score twice from direct free kicks in the same game (since records are available beginning with the 2003 season). He became the second Columbus Crew player to do it, after Federico Higuaín (now with Inter Miami CF) netted a pair in a 2012 game.

MULTIPLE DIRECT FREE KICK GOALS (ONE GAME)
Lucas Zelarayán 5/22/2021 CLB at NYC
Kevin Kratz 4/28/2018 ATL vs MTL
Sebastian Giovinco 7/23/2016 TOR vs DC
Federico Higuaín 8/25/2012 CLB vs NE
Ramiro Corrales 9/2/2012 SJ vs CHV
Dwayne De Rosario 9/18/2010 TOR at HOU

Zelarayán has become the 12th player in MLS history to record at least three goals directly from free kicks in a season, also netting one May 8 vs. D.C. United, the first goal scored by the Crew this season. Still with 28 games to play, Zelarayán is chasing the single-season record of 6, set by Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco in 2017.

Zelarayán has now scored four goals directly from free kicks in his MLS career – the first coming last July 11 vs. FC Cincinnati at the MLS is Back Tournament, a strike which was a finalist for goal of the tournament honors.

MOST DIRECT FREE KICK GOALS, SEASON (since 2003)
Sebastian Giovinco TOR 6 2017 FW
Sebastian Giovinco TOR 5 2015 FW
David Beckham LA 4 2012 MF
Lucas Zelarayán CLB 3 2021 MF
Laurent Ciman LFC 3 2018 DF
Didier Drogba MTL 3 2016 FW
Didier Drogba MTL 3 2015 FW
Michel DAL 3 2014 MF
Camilo VAN 3 2013 FW
Jeff Larentowicz COL 3 2011 MF
Dwayne De Rosario TOR 3 2010 FW
Marko Perovic NE 3 2010 MF

The goal in the fourth minute of added time marked the sixth time in league annals a game-winning goal came from a direct free kick in stoppage time, the first time since the 2016 season.

GAME-WINNING DIRECT FREE KICK GOALS (STOPPAGE TIME ONLY)
Juan Pablo Ángel 94+ 6/2/2010 NYR 2 vs HOU 1
Dwayne De Rosario 94+ 9/18/2010 TOR 2 at HOU 1
Luis Silva 91+ 4/3/2015 DC 1 at ORL 0
Didier Drogba 94+ 5/28/2016 MTL 3 vs LA 2
Cristian Maidana 95+ 7/2/2016 HOU 1 vs PHI 0
Lucas Zelarayán 94+ 5/22/2021 CLB 2 at NYC 1