UPDATE: More Warzycha Free Kicks Unearthed

One of the perils of doing reconstructive research is that you might not catch everything on the first pass. Such research is often iterative, laying the groundwork for other researchers to fill in the gaps. Such is the case with my middle-of-the-night research on Robert Warzycha’s unofficial free kick goal totals since the league did not begin officially tracking direct free kicks until 2003.

My keyword searches in a library database uncovered six direct free kick goals by Warzycha in league play, plus one in the U.S. Open Cup. I wrote up a story about how Lucas Zelarayan, after two direct free kick goals against New York City, tied Warzcya’s single season record, set in 2000, of three direct free kicks in a single season.

Well, thanks to a direct message from Jim Hagan, proprietor of the Twitter account OnThisDayCrew96, two more Warzycha free kicks have been unearthed. Hagan identified two goals missing from my research. Warzycha scored a free kick in 4-3 home loss to San Jose on July 20, 1996 and another in a 3-1 road loss in Tampa Bay on May 13, 2000.

This means that Zelayaran’s recent free kick against New York City on July 17, 2021 is actually the free kick that tied Warzycha’s single season Crew record of four, which is the updated unofficial total for Warzycha in 2000. Based on my prior research, I thought this was the record-setter, but it’s just the record-tier. (However, per the ever-helpful Rick Lawes at MLS HQ, that free kick did indeed set a different official MLS record. Zelarayan became the first MLS player since official records were kept in 2003 to score three direct free kicks against a single team in the same season.)

Another impact of these two newly-unearthed free kick goals is that Warzycha is no longer in a tie with Federico Higuain, who holds the official Crew record with six career direct free kick goals in league play. Warzycha’s updated unofficial total is now EIGHT in MLS play, plus the free kick he scored against the Rochester Rhinos in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup action on September 1, 1999, giving him nine direct free kick goals for the Crew in all competitions.

(Plus the USOC goal vs. Rochester on 9/1/99.)

So with these additions…

Most Crew direct free kick goal in a single season:

4: (tie) Robert Warzycha, 2000 / Lucas Zelarayan, 2021

Most career Crew direct free kick goals, league play:

8: Robert Warzycha
6: Federico Higuain
5: Lucas Zelarayan

Most career Crew direct free kick goals, all competitions:

9: Robert Warzycha
6: Federico Higuain
5: Lucas Zelarayan

I would like to offer a mountain of gratitude to Jim Hagan for his efforts to improve upon my initial research. I wish I’d found them all on the first try, but I am extremely grateful to have even better data now. That’s how reconstructive research works and I couldn’t be happier for his contribution to this specific topic, as well as everything he does with his must-follow Twitter account.

And I’m happiest of all for Robert Warzycha, whose legendary exploits get yet another signal boost.

And for us Crew fans, it’s also fun because it gives Lucas something else to literally shoot for in 2021 and beyond.


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Email: sirk65@yahoo.com
Twitter: @stevesirk
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