Columbus' victory didn't propel them into a playoff position, but it kept the defending MLS Cup champions within three points of D.C. United, who sit seventh in the Eastern Conference standings. Orlando also missed their chance to clinch a playoff spot, instead falling down the table.
Orlando held firm defensively early, but they failed to clear an initial corner kick, providing Zelarayan with a second opportunity to whip the ball in and find Miguel Berry. That established a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute.
Zelarayan unlocked Orlando's defense once again from a corner kick, this time finding Derrick Etienne Jr. at the back post directly from the set piece for a 31st-minute goal and 2-0 lead.
Orlando seemed to get themselves back into the game when Video Review called a handball on Jonathan Mensah after Benji Michel's shot deflected off his arm. Eloy Room saved Daryl Dike's ensuing penalty kick, but the assistant referee flagged for an infraction by Room who stepped off his line too early. Room got his hands to the second penalty kick after Dike went in the same direction, but he couldn't prevent the powerful effort in the 52nd minute, leading to a 2-1 scoreline.
Orlando's resurgence was short-lived, though, as Zelarayan struck a thunderous long-range effort past Pedro Gallese in the 61st minute for a 3-1 advantage.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Crew kept their playoff hopes afloat with this win, improving to 41 points on the season and staying within three points of a playoff spot. Orlando dropped to fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings after NYCFC beat Chicago Fire FC and remained just four points away from dropping out of the playoff positions altogether.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Zelarayan put Orlando into a two-goal deficit with his pair of first-half assists, and he killed their momentum after scoring early in the second half with his seventh goal this season from outside the box.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Zelarayan delivered two assists and a goal on a night where the Crew needed their Designated Player most to keep their playoff hopes alive.