Copa America

Copa America: Gyasi Zardes Needs to Shine for the USMNT

JUNE 03, 2016: Gyasi Zardes of United States during the inagural match between USA versus Colombia at Levi Stadium part of Copa America Centenario US 2016. (Photo by Jorge Galvez))
Copa America: Gyasi Zardes Needs to Shine for the USMNT

Before the Copa America began; if I were to ask you who would be the only front line player for the United States to not have been subbed off? I doubt many would have predicted Gyasi Zardes.

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.

zardes-usa-copa-america-centenario

Photo by: Jorge Galvez

Future Prospect?

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.

zardes-copa-america-centenario-2016-usa

Photo by: Jorge Galvez

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.

Looking Ahead

One thing is for sure, it would be nice to see Zardes reward Klinsmann’s leniency with some production in front of the goal.

Expect Zardes to step it up or Klinsmann may be on to the next option, the young and hungry duo of Christian Pulisic or Darlington Nagbe.

team-usa-zardes-copa-america-centenario-2016

Photo by: Jorge Galvez

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.

Keep it right here on The Stoppage Time, powered by Azteca Soccer, for more world football news. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Copa America
@Gabe_Montoya13

An aspiring soccer analyst and sportscaster, Gabriel Montoya has over 10 years of soccer coaching experience. In addition, Gabriel has over 25 years of soccer playing experience and currently coaching club soccer in Orange County. Previous playing experience includes Division I soccer at CSU Northridge. Previous writing experience includes OleOle.com, topdrawersoccer.com, and LASportsHub.com.

More in Copa America