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Lucas Zelarayan leads Columbus Crew to MLS Cup title

Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Argentine midfielder Lucas Zelarayan scored twice to lead the Columbus Crew to a 3-0 win over the Seattle Sounders in the MLS Cup final in Columbus, Ohio.

Zelarayan scored in the 25th and 82nd minutes of the victory on Saturday at Mapfre Stadium. Derrick Etienne also scored for the Crew.

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"I think by the second match [this season], I knew we were going to do great things this year," Zelarayn told reporters.

"We had a lot of trust, we had great players, we had a great pair of goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and I knew we were going to achieve great things this year."

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The win gave Columbus its second championship in franchise history. The Sounders were attempting to win a second consecutive MLS Cup title.

"It has been an incredible journey for the club, the city and the people of Columbus," Crew captain Jonathan Mensah said.

"We are so grateful for their sacrifices off the field. We are thankful for our amazing fanbase behind us. We did this for them."

Crew right back Harrison Afful set up the first score. Afful dribbled up the right flank before he launched a pass toward the far post. Zelarayan then darted through the box before he used his left foot for a volley past Sounders keeper Stefan Frei.

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Etienne doubled the lead about five minutes later off a Zelarayan assist. Zelarayan collected a loose ball in the box during that sequence. He then squared up for a shot before he faked the attempt and sent a pass to his left.

Etienne then grounded a one-touch shot into the far-post netting.

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The Crew carried the narrow lead through halftime before Zelarayan scored his second goal. Luis Diaz Espinoza dribbled into the box from the right side during that play. He then found a wide-open Zelarayan at the top of the box.

Zelarayan took one touch before he blasted a shot into the upper-left corner of the net to beat Frei for a third time.

Frei and Crew keeper Eloy Room had two saves apiece on Saturday. The Crew picked up the victory despite having just 35% ball possession.

"They worked hard and fought until the end, but came up short," Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said of his team. "In the long run, I think there is a lot of success that follows this franchise. We hope to continue that."

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