[MLS SPOTLIGHT]Perhaps no MLS rookie exhibited more raw talent in 2013 than Gyasi Zardes. The knock on the CSU Bakersfield product was that he could not finish. He seems to have corrected that flaw in his game. For the second time in a week, he scored for LA Galaxy, this time a golazo in its 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes before a sellout crowd of 12,659 fans at Fresno's Chukchansi Park in the first Central California Cup.
(Clickhere for Zardes' goal.)
The Galaxy was already leading on Marcelo Sarvas' first-half goal when Zardes padded the lead in the 54th minute. He burst past three San Jose defenders and launched a rocket over Jon Busch to make it 2-0. (After both teams made lineup changes en masse, Earthquakes academy defender Josh Morton, who is committed to Cal, scored to reduce the Galaxy's lead.)
The first part -- beating defenders -- Zardes was doing all last season. The second part -- converting his chances -- came less often. He scored only four goals on 78 shots, the most by any Galaxy player and 12th in the league. The problem was, only 23 of the 78 shots hit the frame.
2013 MLS Goals, Rookies:
G PLAYER (TEAM)
10 Deshorn Brown(Colorado)
6 Kekuta Manneh (Vancouver)
5 Dillon Powers (Colorado)
5 Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC)
4 Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
4 Adam Jahn (San Jose)
3 Devon Sandoval (Real Salt Lake)
A forward in college, Zardes was used mostly on the left side of midfield in 2013. But with Landon Donovan moving back into midfield in 2014, Zardes has been used in both midfield and up front. He played alongside first-year Canadian Rob Friend in the second half of the 2-1 win over FC Shirak, started in midfield with Donovan in the midweek scrimmage against UNAM in Mexico City and started up front alongside first-year Brazilian Samuel in the 2-1 win over the Quakes.
"I think the entire evening was very good," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said of Zardes in a post-game interview with LA Galaxy Insider. "We’re going to be playing him this year both at forward and in midfield.”