Weekly Soccer Column: LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes of Hawthorne emerging as quality offensive threat for USMNT, while Steven Gerrard makes MLS debut Friday

GerrarddiffDifference maker: New Galaxy signing Steven Gerrard, seen here at an adidas event in Los Angeles, is expected to make his MLS debut Friday against San Jose in Carson (Photo courtesy adidas).

Read the weekly column here.

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Gold Cup Video Highlights: New LA Galaxy signing Giovani Dos Santos injured in 4-4 Mexico-Trinidad & Tobago thriller


It figures. Hours after the LA Galaxy confirmed the worst-kept secret in MLS — the signing of Giovani Dos Santos — their expensive new Mexican acquisition comes out of last night’s heart-stopping 4-4 draw with T&T and is expected to miss the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup.

Here’s why the Galaxy won’t want him sidelined for too long.

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LA Galaxy Update: Alan Gordon gold for USMNT, while another domino falls in the Giovani Dos Santos lottery ahead of tonight’s U.S. Open cup game

LAGordoGolden Guy: Alan Gordon has been called up to the USMNT for the remainder of the Gold Cup (Associated Press Photo).

A lack-luster Gold Cup so far for the U.S. has prompted coach Jurgen Klinsmann to call up a trio of reinforcements including Galaxy “super sub” Alan Gordon.

Here’s more from the Galaxy press release:

Gordon will depart following the Galaxy’s U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal game against Real Salt Lake on Tuesday, July 14 and be unavailable for selection when the Galaxy face the San Jose Earthquakes at StubHub Center on Friday, July 17. The forward will join LA Galaxy teammates Omar Gonzalez and Gyasi Zardes, who helped the U.S. to a first-place finish in Group A.

The Long Beach product made his first and only appearance for his country in 2012 as a substitute against Antigua and Barbuda in a FIFA World Cup Qualifying match when he provided the game-winning assist to Eddie Johnson. Gordon was also called up for the 2013 Gold Cup after the USMNT advanced to the group stage. This season for the Galaxy, Gordon has made 20 appearances and six starts, recording four goals including two game-winning goals. Since joining the Galaxy last season, he has recorded nine goals and an assist in 34 MLS appearances.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy today edged closer to a likely Giovanni Dos Santos deal, just a few days after an MLS rule change (convenient that) appeared to pave the way for the signing:

From the club press release:

The LA Galaxy have received allocation money from New York City FC in exchange for an International roster spot, the club announced today. Per MLS and club policy, exact terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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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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