Gold Cup Preview: Will LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes’ hot streak for USA continue against Panama live at 6:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1?

With all due respect to Steven Gerrard, it was Hawthorne’s Gyasi Zardes who should have hogged the headlines this weekend with a game-breaking display for the U.S. in the Gold Cup.

The upward trajectory of his career is fascinating to watch and we may well get another chance tonight when the U.S. plays its final group game.

I will have more on Zardes in Thursday’s soccer column.

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Gold Cup Video: LA Galaxy rising star Gyasi Zardes creates Clint Dempsey goal in 1-0 U.S. win over Panama

zardesUSA star is born: The LA Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes, who seems to improve with every game, was the creator of the USA’s winning goal Friday against Haiti (Associated Press).

This is the U.S. benefiting from Hawthorne youngster Gyasi Zardes playing with the Galaxy’s Robbie Keane.

Marvelous to watch.

So what did Dempsey say to Zardes in the victory celebration do you think?

Game story:


The Associated Press


Gyasi Zardes didn’t wait long to make an impact for the United States in its Gold Cup match against Haiti on Friday night.

The 23-year-old forward entered at the start of the second half for Jozy Altidore, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury. Less than two minutes later, the forward with the blond-streaked Mohawk turned a pass from Greg Garza into a perfect setup for Clint Dempsey’s goal, sending the Americans to a 1-0 win that clinched their group title.

“Gyasi has the special talent to take people on,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said, calling Zardes curious and eager to learn. “He has a lot of talent and a lot of potential. We just want to tell him every day, ‘One step at a time.’ … It’s a real joy to work with him.”

Dempsey scored in the 47th minute and Brad Guzan made a pair of point-blank saves in the second half for the defending champions, who improved to 2-0 in the opening round and clinched a spot in a July 18 quarterfinal in Baltimore.

The Americans have won six in a row, are 30-1-2 in Gold Cup group play and have reached the knockout stage of all 13 Gold Cup tournaments. They have one game remaining in the group stage, against Panama on Monday in Kansas City, Kansas.

“It’s a nice feeling, knowing that we are already in. But we are not slowing down,” Klinsmann said. “We know we have an influence on who’s going through. … So we will not take our foot off the pedal.”

Zardes started in the Gold Cup opener against Honduras, which the U.S. won 2-1. But Klinsmann shuffled his lineup liberally — including the whole back line — to keep his players fresh after the three-day turnaround.

On Friday, the coach came out of his office at halftime and told Zardes to warm up. “I just prepared myself to step on the field and try to make a difference,” said Zardes, who is in his third year with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The goal didn’t need so much as a word.

Zardes said he made eye contact with Garza, then gave the defender a head nod before he lofted the ball toward the penalty area. Zardas ran onto the ball and cut a pass backward, knowing that one of the forwards would be cutting toward the goal.

It turned out to be Dempsey, who scored with a right-footed shot from about 12 yards.

Dempsey has scored in the last four games he’s played for the U.S. national team, one shy of the record Altidore set two years ago. Dempsey’s 44 international goals are 13 shy of Landon Donovan’s American record.

“I love being with this group of guys; they’re top players,” Zardes said. “I’m just trying to pursue my career and hopefully be like them.”

Haiti, which is 0-1-1, will play Honduras on Monday, with the loser finishing last in the group. Klinsmann said he will try to balance the need to keep the team’s momentum going with his players’ need for rest.

Chief among those will be Altidore, who injured his hamstring on May 16 and is trying to get back into game shape.

“He will get stronger still. I’m not worried about it,” Klinsmann said. “He’s still in the process of becoming Jozy Altidore. We know he’s going to score some goals.”

The U.S. nearly went ahead in the 34th minute, when Aron Johannsson beat goalkeeper Johny Placide. Johannsson was ruled offside, but replays showed he was onside when Altidore passed the ball to him.

Copyright The Associated Press

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Gold Cup Video update: StubHub Center highlights and preview of Mexico-Cuba live at 6:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1

GoldCup1Canny Canuck: Canada’s Marcus Haber fends El Salvador’s Alexander Mendoza Espinales in a 0-0 Gold Cup group game Wednesday at StubHub Center in Carson (Photo by Staff Photographer Will Lester).

Here’s a wrap of the Gold Cup doubleheader in Carson.

A complete Gold Cup schedule is here.

Meanwhile, Fox Soccer announced today that it’s Gold Cup coverage is setting TV ratings records:

“The U.S. squad’s opening match of the CONCACAF Gold Cup against Honduras on Tuesday, July 7, scored 986,000 viewers to become the most-watched non-FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer match in FOX Sports 1 history.

The USMNT vs. Honduras match is the ninth-most watched soccer match overall on FOX Sports 1 and the most-watched Gold Cup Group Stage match on any FOX property, beating the 2013 USA vs. Cuba contest that aired on FOX broadcast network (821,000). The match was especially strong in Adults 18-49, pulling in 558,000 viewers in that demographic.”

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LA Galaxy duo Gyasi Zardes and Omar Gonzalez named to U.S. Gold Cup squad


Galaxy Striker Gyasi Zardes, just named MLS Player of the Week, and defender Omar Gonzalez will report next Monday to the U.S. camp in Nashville ahead of the Gold Cup that begins July 3 with a game against Guatemala in Tennessee before a crowd opf more than 25,000. The pair will leave after Sunday’s game in San Jose against the Earthquakes.

Said coach Jurgen Klinsmann:

“Our approach for putting together the roster for this summer’s Gold Cup, which is very, very important to us, is obviously to do everything possible to win this competition,” he said. “Winning it would qualify us for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, so putting the pieces together is very crucial. That’s why we came out with a roster full of quality, but also a lot of experience; players that are used to playing in the CONCACAF region and also younger players that came through the ranks over the last year that made a stamp on the senior National Team program.”

The roster includes 17 players from last year’s World Cup squad.

The complete roster:

Goalkeepers — Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)

Defenders — Ventura Alvarado (Club America), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC/), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers)

Midfielders — Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Forwards — Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).

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Preliminary Gold Cup rosters released: here are the squads for Mexico and the U.S.


The 35-player provisional squads for the 12 participating nations will be whittled to 23 players on June 23.

The tournament begins July 7.


GK (4) – Luis Michel (Chivas de Guadalajara/Mexico); Moises Muñoz (Club America/Mexico); Guillermo Ochoa (Malaga/Spain); Jonathan Orozco (Monterrey/Mexico)

DF (10) – Paul Aguilar (Club America/Mexico); Oswaldo Alanis (Santos/Mexico); Yasser Corona (Queretaro/Mexico); Miguel Herrera (Pachuca/Mexico); Miguel Layun (Watford/England); Hiram Mier (Monterrey/Mexico); Hector Moreno (Espanyol/Spain); Fernando Navarro (Leon/Mexico); Diego Reyes (Porto/Portugal); Francisco Javier Rodriguez (Cruz Azul/Mexico)

MF (13) – Nestor Calderon (Santos/Mexico); Jonathan Dos Santos (Villarreal/Spain); Jesús Dueñas (Tigres/Mexico); Andres Guardado (PSV Eindhoven/Netherlands); Erick Gutierrez (Pachuca/Mexico); Hector Herrera (Porto/Portugal); Hirving Lozano (Pachuca/Mexico); Jesus Molina (Santos/Mexico); Orbelin Pineda (Queretaro/Mexico); Miguel Ponce (Chivas de Guadalajara/MEX); Antonio Rios (Toluca/Mexico); Jorge Torres Nilo (Tigres/Mexico); Jose Juan Vazquez (Leon/Mexico)

FW (8) – Jesus Corona (FC Twente/Netherlands); Aldo De Nigris (Chivas de Guadalajara/Mexico); Giovani Dos Santos (Villarreal/Spain); Carlos Esquivel (Toluca/Mexico); Javier Hernandez (Real Madrid/Spain); Javier Orozco (Santos/Mexico); Oribe Peralta (Club America/Mexico); Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad/Spain)


GK (4) – Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/England); Bill Hamid (D.C. United/USA); Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake/USA); William Yarbrough (Leon/Mexico)

DF (12) – Ventura Alvarado (Club America/Mexico); DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo/USA); Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City/USA); John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/Germany); Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt/Germany); Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders/USA); Greg Garza (Club Tijuana/Mexico); Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy/USA); Michael Orozco (Puebla/Mexico); Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers/England); Brek Shea (Orlando City SC/USA); DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur/England)

MF (12) – Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake/USA); Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/France); Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/Canada); Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/Mexico); Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo/USA); Mix Diskerud (New York City FC/USA); Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/Germany); Perry Kitchen (D.C. United/USA); Alfredo Morales (Inglostadt 04/Germany); Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution/USA); Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy/USA); Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City/USA)

FW (7) – Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution/USA); Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/Canada); Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders/USA); Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy/USA); Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar/Netherlands); Jordan Morris (Stanford University/USA); Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes/USA)

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