CARSON, Calif. – During the LA Galaxy’s run to back-to-back MLS Cup titles, former LA attacker Mike Magee’s ability to step up when needed was crucial, but now with Magee currently playing for the Chicago Fire, the Galaxy will look for someone else to add to the offensive output of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.
And the most likely candidate to step into this role is none other than rookie forward turned left-sided midfielder Gyasi Zardes.
In 2013, Zardes notched four goals and four assists in this rookie season while tallying 78 shots in his 27 appearances, which means that Zardes averaged nearly three shots per game, a mark that is second to only Keane. Against Real Salt Lake, Zardes’ pace and physicality should make him a threat going forward against RSL’s right back Tony Beltran has struggled this season when dealing with pacey wide players.
“I just have to be aggressive going forward. That’s all I can do,” said Zardes. “We’ve played these guys three times and we know what they’re capable of, so we have a great feel for them.”
With a heap of pressure and responsibility expected to be piled on the rookie’s shoulders, it’d be understandable for him to be a bit nervous heading into the match, but Zardes admits that he’s ready for the challenge.
“There are no nerves,” Zardes said. “This is my first playoff game, but I’m going to treat it like every other game this season. I’m going to work extremely hard and pay attention to what my teammates say.”