As the 2018 season reaches a new front with every matchday, so does Columbus Crew SC forward Gyasi Zardes, who continues to climb the ladder of individual productivity while shaping collective results.
At this point in the campaign, it is apparent that Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s possession-based system, which consistently puts out a 4-2-3-1 lineup, puts Zardes as an offensive endpoint. Despite the open nature of Crew SC's goal-scoring production, Zardes has quietly become just the ninth player in Club history to reach 15 goals in a single season, with still eight matches left to play.
The California native’s goal total ranks fourth in Major League Soccer, and of the players League-wide to have taken at least 50 shots, Zardes ranks third in conversion rate (25.86 percent), only behind Atlanta United FC’s Josef Martinez and the New York Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Zardes is averaging one goal per 155 minutes played and is just one of five players in MLS to have recorded at least three braces this season, one short of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's League-leading four.
Aside from the striker's aggregate production, what is arguably more impressive is the consistency in which he is doing so and what it means for the Club's results on matchday.
With an 8-2-3 record at MAPFRE Stadium this season, Zardes has scored in all but two of those matches, including a three-game home scoring streak which extends into this weekend’s match against New York City FC. Notably, of Zardes’ aforementioned braces, all three have come on home soil.
Zardes’ last tally came in the 50th minute of Crew SC’s match at Atlanta United on Aug. 19, or 130 minutes worth of match-play ago, as the Black & Gold prep for the Blues on Saturday, Sept. 1 at MAPFRE Stadium, with kickoff slated for 8 p.m. ET.