CARSON, Calif. – Gyasi Zardes was blunt when asked about his offensive performance in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.
“I don’t think that I did good at all,” Zardes told LA Galaxy Insider following the team’s training session on Saturday morning. “I could have been a better threat. We got the result, but I wasn’t much of a threat.”
Following a successful start against Real Salt Lake, Zardes struggled going forward against Tijuana as his passing and crossing was frequently off the mark with the forward completing just 13 of his 27 passes. Meanwhile his darting attacking runs amounted in little as he was blanketed by speedy Xolos right back Juan Nunez. Although he struggled to create going forward, Zardes did excel defensively making 11 recoveries and a single clearance to help LA keep the shutout.
“Good physical effort, but he has to be better technically,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “He’s still young and it’s going to be up and down. As he gets into the season and we get into a rhythm, we’re going to see some good soccer out of him.”
Whether Zardes remains in the starting XI for the second leg is still up in the air, however, as substitute Stefan Ishizaki was solid in a 20 minute shift against Tijuana. But if he is indeed starting at the Estadio Caliente, Zardes understands that he’ll need to have a more complete performance.
“I just need to make sure that I defend as well as attack,” said Zardes who asserted that he expected to see a full-strength Xolos team face LA on Tuesday. “I need to be smart with the [forward] runs that I make and listen to my teammates.”
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