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SBI USMNT Man of the Match: Gyasi Zardes


Photo by Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports


Through the opening 45 minutes of Friday’s clash with Haiti, the U.S. Men’s National Team couldn’t do much of anything. Then Gyasi Zardes made something happen.

Zardes entered the game at halftime and provided an assist on the game’s lone goal just two minutes later, helping push the USMNT to a 1-0 win while earning honors as SBI USMNT Man of the Match.

Entering on the heels of a dismal first half, Zardes finally provided the U.S. with some sort of spark, dashing down the left-hand side to get on the end of a Greg Garza pass. Zardes proceeded to play a pass into the path of an onrushing Clint Dempsey, who smashed the shot home from the game’s lone goal.

Zardes continued to be the USMNT’s biggest threat throughout a majority of the second half, causing trouble down the left side as the U.S. proceeded to kill off the game in what turned out to be an important, albeit lackluster, performance that locked up a quarterfinal birth.

With his performance, Zardes beat out goalscorer Clint Dempsey, forward Aron Johannsson and defender Tim Ream for Man of the Match honors.

What did you think of  Zardes’ performance? Which player stood out to you in the USMNT’s win over Haiti?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Brad Guzan gets the nod from me but Zardes was definitely a game changer. It was concerning how Haiti was able to shred us on the counter but Guzan held the back line together and made key save when needed.

    • Agreed Zardes made a difference, but without Guzan’s saves it would not have been enough. And I was hoping the days the US has a keeper as its MOTM were past.

  2. I do not say this often about Americans players. And especially American attacking players. But to me at least. Zardes looks ready to play in Europe. He is the one player to me that looks like his game and style could translate well. But if he wants to stay in MLS im fine with that too. Im not a person who wants all of our players overseas. But he looks like he could fit.

  3. Aron J was robbed of a goal by the refs. If Aron had been credited the goal he would have been the MOM. I just want to share my two cents on Jozy. We seem to have better options at this point. If he is truly coming back from injury, then he should be coming off the bench at least.

    • The USMNT has two proven forwards, Jozy and Clint.

      It has two promising forwards, AJ and Zardes
      It has one enigmatic forward, Juan
      It has one just okay forward, Wondo
      It has three up and coming forwards, Morris, Wood and , maybe, Rubin.
      SBI fans seem comfortably arrogant about their perception that the US forward pool can easily replace Jozy and Clint, who most of you wanted to dump before the Gold Cup.
      One of Zardes’ most remarkable traits is his ability to stay healthy for the past two or three seasons. This probably means he is due for an injury.

      Everyone seems to forget how the US lost Jozy, AJ and had Clint inhibited by a broken nose , basically all in one game.

      If Zardes should come up lame anytime soon the US forward pool, which is already depleted by Morris’ fracture and uncertain return suddenly looks iffy.

      You’ll have AJ, Clint and Wondo who all basically play the same way, a Morris with a broken leg, an inconsistent Juan, a raw Rubin and Wood , who despite his nice two goals remains unproven.

      JK has said he took Jozy so he could try and get him back to some semblance of his best in these games.

      If you are a fan of the USMNT I would think you would want that as well.
      But I could be wrong.

      • But except for the Gold Cup, how many tournaments do we play in are of any consequence, The Centenario is iffy and the Confed Cup is 2017 IF we qualify for it. The rest are just friendlies which dont count for much.

        In this next WC cycle JK will bring in a fresh herd, more “Zardes” will be found, and some players, no matter how good they are, will fall out of favor with JK and we;ll never see them around, and those players who become JK;s favorites. will continue to get favorable treatment like time with the USMNT to do their rehab.
        But we will have new forwards who’ll make their mark that we have not heard of yet

      • bottlcaps,

        It’s nice to be positive.

        Donovan burst on the scene in the 2002 WC, 13 years ago.

        How many Donovans have you seen since then?

        For that matter, how many Goochs, Bocas, Dolos , and Reynas have you seen since then?

        You have Mikey , maybe Fabian and that is it.

        Cameron, Gonzo , Besler, Zusi, Mix, and all those others are nice players but they are notable for promising more than they actually deliver. Our Center backs are more notable for their errors than their consistency.

        England are garbage, a team I hate because they won’t play as a team but even so, JK would kill to have their level of talent available to him.

        We just beat Germany and the Netherlands but if those two teams put together a 23 man roster today, not one US player, except maybe Morris and maybe Fabian, would make it.

        How many US forwards as solid and productive as Zardes have come up since 2002? I can’t think of one other than Jozy.

        Maybe Morris, Wood, Rubin and the rest will work out. But there is a just as good a chance they won’t. There is a reason Jozy and Clint despite their performance issues and their age, respectively, continue to be important.

        It’s because their clear, proven successors have yet to emerge.

        Yes the US pool is getting deeper but so is everyone else’s. MLS has done a nice job of developing talent for our CONCACAF opponents.

        The point is there is this massive misconception that the USMNT player pool is vastly improved from 2002 so the job of fielding a top ten contending team should now be child’s play and the team would be fine even if Alexi Lalas were the manager.

        I’m sure the USMNT will mount a credible challenge when the only tournament that really matters, the World Cup, next comes up. But it won’t be because the US talent pool has closed the gap with the talent pool of the big boy teams.

        The USMNT is and will be a dangerous opponent for anyone because the manager gets them to play as a team and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

        It’s been that way for a long time and it will have to remain that way for some time.

        Which means those of who are just dying to flush Jozy and Clint are being premature.

  4. “Zardes is going places but I can’t think of another young US forward in recent times who has been blessed with so many unselfish, accomplished attacking partners. With LA he gets Magee, Donovan, Juninho and Keane ( and now Gerrard ) and with the US he gets Dempsey and AJ.”

    Jozy’s unselfish (perhaps overly) and accomplished, too, doe… lol

  5. Apparently no one on SBI listened to the game coverage where it was frequently mentioned that Jozy was not fit and JK was going to try and work him into fitness during the group games.

    And apparently no one noticed that AJ was great all game and opened up lots of holes for Zardes and Dempsey with his intelligent runs.

    Zardes was great but AJ was the best US player in that game.

    Zardes is going places but I can’t think of another young US forward in recent times who has been blessed with so many unselfish, accomplished attacking partners. With LA he gets Magee, Donovan, Juninho and Keane ( and now Gerrard ) and with the US he gets Dempsey and AJ.
    He’s good but he is also lucky and it is better to be lucky than good.

    • AJ was the man of the match in my eyes. He created the opportunities. Zardes is pretty good, but people need to stop trying lake him the next coming.

      • sadly i’ve already seen the articles titled [Zardes: finally the star we’ve been waiting for”… like did no one see what happened to Adu with the “star” tag too early? yikes… i almost wouldn’t mind Zardes having a bad game or two just to curb the enthusiasm… almost

    • The next hump for Zardes is doing it for 90 minutes. We’ve seen him change games as a sub where he can exploit his speed against tired opponents. Can he contribute as a 90 minutes starter?

      • Yes, he does it all the time for the Galaxy and for the USMNT ? He did 87 minutes against Honduras, Against The Netherlands and Germany he did around 80 mins for both games. JK wants to limit minutes for the younger players in the group stages st the Gold Cup as they are more likely to become fatigued after playing a full 90 on three days rest.

    • I agree. I thought AJ was MOTM. I found myself wishing Bedoya had been subbed in for Zusi as well and/or Yedlin. Not that Zusi played poorly but he wasn’t making an impact.

    • Zardes never played with Magee because he picked up an injury at the beginning of his 2013 rookie season and Magee was traded about 2 months into the season….and he hasn’t even played with Gerrard nor trained so I don’t know how he benefits from him yet…? He will but he hasn’t been lucky to play with him or train at all…

      The way he made the run to assist on Wondo’s goal vs Guatemala had nothing to do with Dempsey, the way he made the timely run to stay on sides and laid it off perfectly with the right timing to Dempsey so he could score had nothing to do with him playing with them..give the guy credit for what he’s done the past few days….

      • Edwin,

        Zardes gets all the credit in the world. It is not going to diminish him in any way if I mention that he is not a one man gang.

        He is obviously a special talent and appears to be doing the work but more importantly he knows who to listen to, to get the most out of what he has.

        In comparison, Juan, for example, has as much if not more talent but he either hasn’t been as lucky in terms of his club situation or he simply isn’t as smart and savvy as Gyasi. It’s probably a combination of the two.

        That goal vs. Haiti never happens without Clint and AJ doing their part.

        Unlike you and most people on SBI, I do not believe soccer players operate in a vacuum.

        In English that means a player’s organization and team has a great deal to do with their performance and productivity.

        You need only compare Jozy at AZ vs. Jozy at Sunderland to understand that.

        Soccer is a team sport and Zardes benefits much more from his team than any other young US forward I have seen in the last 10 to 12 years, other than Jozy at AZ. I thought Magee played with Zardes but even so are you going to tell me that if you are in an attack with Donovan and/or Keane that the defenders aren’t going to focus on one of them first?

        And are you going to tell me that Zardes does not benefit from playing for arguably the best, most stable team and manager in the league?

        Imagine if he had moved to Sunderland and played for Poyet.

        And are you going to tell me that Donovan and Keane don’t know how to find you in the final third if you are open or aren’t going to be a good bet to finish off your passes if you find them in the final third? And that Gerrard isn’t likely to continue that happy (for Zardes) situation?

        Do you think Zardes would be as advanced as he is today if he had come up with the potent offense at Chivas USA instead of the Galaxy?

        Maybe he would but I have my doubts.

        On the Haiti goal Zardes makes a nice run and pass back to Dempsey who makes a nice finish.

        How many times have you seen the guy in Dempsey’s spot blow that finish? It wasn’t a tap in.

        And if Clint does miss are you going to be talking about what a difference Zardes made? Probably not anywhere near as much.

        And why was Dempsey so open in the first place? Because AJ made a dummy run to his right, thereby taking his (AJ’s) defender away from the spot where Zardes passed the ball to and allowing Clint to be pretty open to take that shot.

        I’m no tactical genius but I know how to watch TV. Wynalda explained that entire sequence leading up to the goal on the post game show.

        And Eric knows a little bit about forward play.

        Don’t worry, my comments are not going to slow the tidal wave of Hype
        that is going to inundate Gyasi.

  6. He’s bulky and he gets knocked off the ball. He’s also trying to draw fouls when there are other better opportunities available (like scoring goals).

    • was your comment a response to the article? pretty sure the article’s about Zardes…..

  7. Zardes changed the game as soon as he came in. Altidore is lazy he’s so content with just walking around and not doing much his game has regressed so much, his first touch, his passing everything. Zardes at least hustles defensively and pressures the defense to give up the ball. Hopefully klinsi sends altidore home after the group stage. He looks fat to like he used to be ripped but gained weight and now he’s just bulky

    • Fat is something he is not. You criticize his style of play, but he is definitely not fat. I feel he regressed in England. He moved away from the passing center forward to physical, bullying type. I’m just not a fan of the Premier league outside defenders/goalkeepers except for a few teams. I wish players would stick to leagues like la Liga/bundesliga/serie a/ligue 1

    • If he’s lazy you’re going to have to call out a few other players. Dempsey does the same thing, he’ll just walk around while defenders pass the ball closely around him. It’s a striker thing.

  8. After about the fourth Altidore giveaway, the camera’s caught Klinsmann with his head between his hands and he must have thought to himself: “What was I thinking?”
    That’s two straight games Altidore has played poorly. I’m wondering, as one of Klinsmann favorites, he’ll keep starting.

    I wish Klinsmann would pair Zardes up top with Dempsey. It looks like good chemistry. Zardes best position is as a forward, but because of his work ethic, speed and passing, JK still has him playing as a left mid. Put him up top and “Release the Zardes!!!”

    • As a Zardes fan, you may be right, but AJ played very well today. Dempsey and AJ up front with Zardes on the wing may be the alignment that gives teams the most trouble.Wherever he plays, Zardes makes good things happen.


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