OBETZ, Ohio — Fresh off a brace against the New England Revolution, Columbus Crew SC forward Gyasi Zardes has received another national team call-up.
The 27-year-old has 42 caps with the U.S. men’s national team, but only six goals. Some questions about what position he was best suited to play, along with an up-and-down club career, hurt his chances early on. Now, those questions are behind him. Zardes is a striker through and through, and after a career-high 19 goals in 2018, he looks to be a mainstay of the national team for the foreseeable future.
During the 2018 season, Zardes re-emerged under former Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter. He scored more goals than any other American in MLS and was named the Comeback Player of the year. Berhalter is now in charge of the national team.
“When you go into camp, it’s a competition. It’s the best American players getting called in. You can’t take any of it for granted,” Zardes said, “It’s a huge honor to represent my country. I’m so thankful to get another opportunity to perform. It’s a testament to all the hard work that me and my teammates have put forth. I don’t base my success just on myself, it’s a team sport.”
The team Zardes is on now is perfect for his skill set. Columbus is known for creating a lot of chances in front of the net. With the LA Galaxy, Zardes bounced around from forward to winger, and even right back for a spell.
“It’s nice to be able to play up top each and every single day. I really enjoy it. It allows me to be more consistent,” Zardes said.
That consistency is breeding success. Of his 19 goals last season, only two came on the road. Zardes has already hit that total now, and he is looking to get more.
“I didn’t even know that was the case for me last year. That’s crazy, but it’s something I can build on. I hope I can keep scoring home and away,” Zardes said, “ [the 2018] season is behind me now. I just try and progress each and every week.”
Zardes and the Crew face FC Dallas at home this week before he departs with teammates Wil Trapp and Zack Steffen for the USMNT friendlies against Ecuador and Chile.