The 24 year-old local product has been a relative star for the LA Galaxy since signing a Homegrown contract in 2013. He’s scored 26 goals and has 10 assists in MLS play and his breakout season in 2014 saw him score 16 goals in route to the LA Galaxy winning a 5th MLS Cup. In addition he’s amassed over 7,000 regular season minutes and his postseason record has him playing over 690 minutes while scoring a goal.
In addition, Gyasi Zardes has also been a staple for the United States Mens National Team having made 19 appearances in 2015 (That tied Claudio Reyna’s 1994 record for most caps by a U.S. Player in their debut year).
Despite his obvious success Gyasi Zardes has so far struggled to find his 2014 form. He’s been playing different positions under Bruce Arena – switching between right midfield and striker – and hasn’t been able to settle down with new strike partners Giovani dos Santos and Steven Gerrard.
There were rumors during the LA Galaxy’s off season that he attracted some interest from clubs, but ultimately the LA Galaxy look to have passed in favor of signing him to a larger contract.
TARGETED ALLOCATION MONEY
With the use of Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) it can be inferred that Zardes’ contract extends beyond the ‘Maximum budget charge’ of $457,500. Any dollar amount spent above that max budget had to be offset by TAM. How much above that max salary is up to anyone’s guess and we won’t know the approximate value of the contract until the MLS Players Union releases it’s salary figures later this year.
Whether or not this is a good move for the long term health of the LA Galaxy’s salary cap will be left up to interpretation. If the LA Galaxy are able to continue developing Zardes to become the creative star they currently need, or if they can develop him to a point in which he is sold to Europe, then this contract may make sense. However, if Zardes’ development stalls or if he can’t be sold to Europe the LA Galaxy may be left to host a fire-sale much like the deal that sent Omar Gonzalez to Liga MX.
According to Kevin Baxter of the LA Times, and frequent guest of Corner of the Galaxy, the LA Galaxy have also promoted LA Galaxy II striker Ariel Lassiter. This is something that was theorized recently and would make the most sense. Lassiter was a standout for the LA Galaxy’s USL side last year and helped lead the team all the way to the title game where they lost in extra time. Ariel Lassiter is the son of MLS great Roy Lassiter.
OK NOW it’s official: #LAGalaxy set opening day roster by signing forward Ariel Lassiter off Galaxy II give Gyasi Zardes contract extension
— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) March 3, 2016
Gyasi Zardes and the LA Galaxy will face off against DC United in the 2016 MLS Season Opener this Sunday, March 6th at 7PM. You can find our match preview of that game here.