Gyasi Zardes has put in some serious minutes with the US Men’s team during the COPA American Group stages. The USMNT managed to finish on top of a very tough group. They will now play Ecuador at Century Link Field in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 6:30pm PST with Zardes most likely set to be in the starting XI. The USA advancing into the quarterfinals guarantees that Zardes won’t make the June 18th Galaxy away game versus Toronto FC. It also puts in jeopardy his June 22nd home appearance versus Colorado Rapids.
Zardes started off the tournament a little slow with a 90-minute shift against Columbia that saw the USA lose 2-0. Gyasi was pretty absent and the box score showed his lack luster performance with only a foul committed and a foul received to finish off the night. He did hustle a ton in the game and was not afraid to get back and provide some defensive cover when needed.
Game two of the COPA America group stage was highly anticipated as a tough brawl between USA and Costa Rica. Gyasi Zardes put in another 90-minute shift as the USA shocked everyone with a 4-0 domination of the Ticos at Soldier Field. Zardes took two shots in the game but didn’t make much impact on the final score in the end. He was fouled four times and once again worked hard all game. His first touch let him down late in the game and stifled a one on one chance with the goalkeeper to push the USA to an even higher score line on the night.
Game three of the COPA America group stage found the USA in a must not lose game against the scrappy South American country of Paraguay. Emotions and tempers ran high through this game as Zardes put in another strong 90-minute shift. In the 27th minute, Zardes ran down the wing and with his head down managed to blast a perfect pass to Clint Dempsey in the box who scored the game-winning goal! Gyasi Zardes was the most fouled US player in the game along with Bobby Wood showing that he was dominate on the ball and making good runs all night. This forced Paraguay to scramble and foul him when he was on the ball. While emotions and tempers ran high, the game saw 10 yellow cards issued, and notably Zardes was not one of the people to receive one.
Gyasi has now logged 270 minutes in the books already for COPA America and I see him playing another 90 this Thursday against Ecuador. His assist ended up being even more important for the USA once Costa Rica defeated Columbia later that night in one crazy game. The loss by Columbia meant that the USA advanced out of the group on top. We are glad Zardes is getting international experience out at COPA America but cannot wait for him to be back in the LA Galaxy color soon!