The local LA Galaxy product out of Hawthorne, California has carved out a niche in USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s heart. So much so, that despite not registering a single assist or goal in the Copa America thus far, Klinsmann has opted to leave the 24-year-old in for the entirety of the games. Klinsmann has opted instead to substitute off Bobby Wood (twice) and Clint Dempsey (once) infavor of keeping Zardes on the pitch.
Klinsmann may see Zardes as something of a project for the future. Zardes has shown flashes of being a reliable finisher such as the two goals he scored against Bolivia in the final tune up match before the Copa America back on May 28th.
The Galaxy have recently lacked attacking punch since Zardes’ departure to the US men’s national team. Zardes has good size and above average speed which helps keep defenders on their heels.
Consistency is the Key
Zardes however, has also struggled to find consistency in his production. In the previous five games that Zardes has played for the United States, he only has the two goals against Bolivia to his name and zero assists.
In the 90 minutes played against Costa Rica, Zardes failed to impress. Some would question Klinsmann as to why Zardes is given so much leash. After all, it does seem rather odd that other attackers such as Bobby Wood are playing better and contributing more than Zardes and are being switched out as substitutes.
Coaches often harp about the intangibles. Perhaps there is something that Zardes is doing at training or on the field that we are not seeing? Klinsmann may also be giving Zardes plenty of experience as a long term replacement to the aging Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey.
One thing is for sure, it would be nice to see Zardes reward Klinsmann’s leniency with some production in front of the goal.
The next game for the United States is Saturday June 11, at 4:00 p.m. (Pacific) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania versus Paraguay in the final group match of group A in the Copa America.