LA Galaxy homegrown player Gyasi Zardes was off to a fantastic 2016 MLS season scoring six goals with five assists. Unfortunately, a broken foot ended his season early and he was sidelined indefinitely.
Zardes was selected for the US Men’s National Team camp in early January, but a knee injury put him on the shelf keeping him away from the beginning of the 2017 season. However, the Hawthorne native made his return to the field against the Vancouver Whitecaps in 23 minutes.
Zardes expressed his excitement at returning to the pitch according to Adam Serrano of LA Galaxy:
“I’m thankful to see the field again after a long time of being out. I know that my fitness and my game is going to develop the more minutes that I play. Getting reps in games is going to help benefit myself as a player,” Zardes told LA Galaxy Insider. “As far as getting back to full fitness, I’m still getting there and I just need to keep practicing.”
Head coach Curt Onalfo hinted he could hand Zardes his first start when the Galaxy host the Montreal Impact:
“He’s looking better each day. The thing that’s difficult is that as much as you want to throw him in there from the beginning is that was his first game since August,” Onalfo said. “It’s important to try and bring him along appropriately so that he stays healthy and can contribute all year long. It’s encouraging that he’s looking better each day.”
Los Angeles will need a healthy Zardes to turn around the team’s struggles as he formed an impressive duo with Giovani dos Santos in 2016, combining for 20 goals and 17 assists before he got hurt. The club will need the 25-year-old to regain his form as soon as possible to help the Galaxy climb out from the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
The Galaxy have lost Sebastian Lletget for a considerable amount of time and Robbie Rogers is also indefinitely out. However, dos Santos, Zardes, Ashley Cole and Brian Rowe have all returned.