“I think he had a good night and a good goal with a great ball from Keane. He is getting better.”
–Bruce Arena, on Zardes’ performance against the Philadelphia Union
Gyasi Zardes has been named Major League Soccer’s Player of the Week for the 16th week of the 2015 MLS season. The 23-year-old forward played a pivotal role in the LA Galaxy’s 5-1 rout of the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night, scoring a goal and nabbing two assists.
Undoubtedly Zardes’ highlight-reel moment from the game came in the 56th minute when Zardes made a thirty yard pass to Robbie Keane, sprinted sixty yards, leapt into the air, received a perfect volley from Keane and blasted the ball into the back of the net.
Zardes found his more-impressive of two assists in the 65th minute. With the Union defense closing in on him, he played the ball back to midfielder Sebastian Lletget who calmly netted his third goal in as many games.
“I think Sebastian Lletget’s goal was really nice. That’s the kind of stuff we were doing last year. [Zardes’ goal was a] great finish, great pass by Robbie Keane. We’re finally seeing Zardes and Keane team up again and we’re really excited about that.”
Zardes grew up in Hawthorne, California, a stone’s throw away from the Galaxy’s stomping ground at the StubHub Center. The SoCal native had a breakout 2014 season, scoring 19 goals in all competitions. If the Galaxy Homegrown player’s performance on Saturday night is any indication of his aspirations for 2015, then Galaxy fans are in for a treat.
On the international stage Zardes has already had a momentous 2015. In January, Jürgen Klinsmann gave Zardes his first international call-up to the United States Men’s National Team. In the USMNT’s game versus Panama on February 8, 2015, which was serendipitously enough also played at the StubHub Center, Zardes earned his first international assist in front of his hometown fans after dishing off a gorgeous pass to Clint Dempsey in the 37th minute who then, in true Dempsey fashion, danced around the Panamanian keeper (LA Galaxy’s own Jaime Penedo) and scored.
Earlier this month on June 5, 2015, Zardes scored his first international goal in the USMNT’s stunning comeback victory against the Netherlands at the Amsterdam Arena when, in the 33rd minute, Zardes received a pass from Fabian Johnson and placed a right-footed volley past Netherlands goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.
Galaxy fans will be hoping that Zardes can replicate his form this coming Wednesday when the LA Galaxy take on the Portland Timbers at the StubHub Center.