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MLS Round-Up: Sarvas Ready For More Glory At D.C., Zardes Opens Doors At LA

Gyasi Zardes Los Angeles Galaxy
Gyasi Zardes #11 of Los Angeles Galaxy celebrates his goal against New York City FC during the first half at StubHub Center August 23, 2015, in Carson, California.

In this MLS Round-Up, we look at a couple of clubs. First, we look the ongoing preparations for Ben Olsen‘s D.C. United as they get set for their 2016 campaign. Marcelo Sarvas, the former LA Galaxy playmaker that is coming off a difficult spell at Pablo Mastroeni‘s Colorado Rapids, believes that this time around, the productivity and results will come with United as they look to make this a two-team Race To Seis.

“I’m sure they talk a lot, and Bruce gave him the best picture of me,” said Sarvas to’s Ian Quillen. “So I just want to be the same as I was in LA. It looks like the team that we built in LA, of course besides the stars that LA had. People with experience in this league that know the league very well. Players that have been through a lot of things in this league.”

“He’s going to help us on the offensive end out of our buildup,” Olsen said of Sarvas. “We have to do a better job all around the field with our passing. We believe in our group from a defensive standpoint but now we want to evolve and get a little bit better in that area.”

Sarvas will be getting some help. Boca Juniors midfielder Luciano Acosta will be on loan to help out the Brazilian, according to a report by the Washington Post’s Steven Goff. All logistical and visa hurdles should be cleared in time for their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Mexican side Queretaro on Feb. 23 and Mar. 1.

The report also stated that AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino may be traded in terms of his MLS rights. Details below.

Both clubs were interested in signing Nocerino, 30, but United was first to submit a discovery claim, which affords exclusive negotiating rights among MLS teams. During the talks, however, Orlando allegedly made an offer, a violation of MLS tampering rules. Because Orlando was prepared to tender a larger salary, Nocerino had second thoughts about signing with United. United has declined to match Orlando’s offer, telling sources it wanted to preserve resources for other signings.

Finally, we head west to Bruce Arena‘s Galaxy, and Gyasi Zardes. The Hawthorne, Calif. native is giving back to his community with a number of underused tennis courts converted to futsal courts.

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“The characteristics of someone from Hawthorne are that they have a go-getter mentality. They’re not complacent; they want to achieve more. They always want to work harder,” Zardes told LA Galaxy Insider’s Adam Serrano. “Living in Hawthorne, you can see that the characteristics of the families is that they work a couple of jobs and they work extremely hard to provide. I take all those characteristics under my belt, and I try to work extremely hard and give it my all on the field. Work ethic is the defining characteristic of the people of Hawthorne.

“Being an African-American kid who plays for the Galaxy and the U.S. National Team is a real source of pride for me. When other African-Americans are walking on the street or know who I am, they’re always very proud of what I’ve accomplished. They always say things like, “Congratulations, brother” because you don’t see many of us getting called up or having the same opportunities as others. Being an African-American is something that means a lot to me and not only that, but achieving a lot for the community.

“It’s a huge thing being a successful African-American kid from Hawthorne because a lot of people paint a negative light on African-Americans, and it is unfortunate. There a lot of African-Americans doing remarkable things in the world, but yet, we’re being portrayed as doing negative things, and that’s not true. I’m happy that other African-Americans are proud of me, and I’m fortunate that my city made a mural of me so that I could help the next generation see that whatever you put your mind to, you can succeed. And I can tell them not to believe that negative image that people try to portray.

“When I play, I know that there are a bunch of kids from Hawthorne and Los Angeles, who are watching me. I know that they’re watching me, and I try to be a positive light for them. A lot of kids look up to me especially the kids from Hawthorne. I want to be a positive image that they can look up to. I don’t want to be a negative image. I want them to have faith in themselves so that when they look at me, they know that they can achieve big things. That’s my main goal. I’m here to serve them. I want to help this neighborhood and help my city.”

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