Los Angeles Galaxy's Gyasi Zardes earns MLS Player of the Week honor and is named to USMNT Gold Cup squad

June 22, 2015

The Los Angeles Galaxy's standout young forward Gyasi Zardes has been named Major League Soccer Player of the Week for the 16th week of the 2015 MLS season. It is Zardes’ first time earning MLS Player of the Week honors.  He joins goalkeeper Jaime Penedo as the second Galaxy recipient of MLS Player of the Week this season.

Zardes contributed greatly to the Galaxy's five-goal explosion against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, as he scored his fourth goal of the season -- tied for a Galaxy team high -- and recorded two assists.

His goal was also nominated for the MLS Goal of the Week. On the play, Zardes buried a pass from fellow forward Robbie Keane with one touch to give the Galaxy a 3-0 lead on the night.

Zardes now has four goals and two assists on the year to bring his three-year Galaxy total to 24 goals and eight assists in 75 all-time MLS Regular Season appearances.

The Galaxy will next host the Portland Timbers on Wednesday, June 24, at StubHub Center.

In other news, Zardes and LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez have been named to a 23-man roster by U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Gonzalez and Zardes will report to Nashville, Tennessee, for USMNT duty on June 29 with the final group-stage match taking place July 13. The duo will miss the Galaxy’s games against San Jose (July 1) and Toronto FC (July 4). Should the USMNT team advance out of the group stages, Gonzalez and Zardes would remain on international duty until the U.S. are eliminated or through the end of the tournament, with the final set for July 26 in Philadelphia.

Zardes earns his first-ever Gold Cup call up and is set to make his first appearance in a CONCACAF competition. He is just weeks removed from scoring his first goal for the USMNT as he helped earn a historic 4-3 victory over Netherlands before starting in a 2-1 victory over defending World Cup champions Germany.

The roster includes 17 players from the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad.  In total, this U.S. team averages 30.5 international caps.

The MNT will take the pitch for a final Gold Cup tune-up against Guatemala in Nashville on July 3.  Four days later, the five-time Gold Cup champions will begin their quest with the opening round match against Honduras on July 7 in Frisco, Texas.

Twelve CONCACAF teams will compete for the Gold Cup trophy: three from North America, five from Central America, and four from the Caribbean. The winning team qualifies for a playoff to determine which CONCACAF team participates in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup (a World Cup dress rehearsal which features the champion from each region in the world, the defending World Cup Champion, and the host, which in 2017 will be Russia).

With the Gold Cup win in 2013, the U.S. has already qualified for that playoff. Should the MNT win the Gold Cup this summer, it would earn an automatic bid for the Confederations Cup, which is the ultimate goal for Klinsmann and the team.

“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," said Klinsmann. "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 MNT is coming off of road wins against No. 6-ranked Netherlands and reigning World Cup champion Germany, and is riding a four-match unbeaten streak against opponents ranked in the top 20 in the world (3-0-1). The USA is 4-2-1 on the year.

U.S. Roster By Position (Gold Cup Appearances):

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/2007), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake/2011, 2013), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)

DEFENDERS (7): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC/2009), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy/2013), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers/2011)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake/2009, 2013), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/2011, 2013), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/2007, 2011), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo/2005), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC/2013), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/2011), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC/2005, 2007, 2011), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes/2011, 2013)

June 29             Players report to Nashville
July 3               USA v Guatemala, Nashville (FOX Sports 1, UniMás, Univision Deportes Network)
July 7               USA v. Honduras, Frisco (FOX Sports 1, UniMás)
July 10              USA v. Haiti, Foxborough (FOX Sports 1, UniMás)
July 13              USA v. Panama, Kansas City (FOX Sports 1, UniMás)
July 18*            Quarterfinal, Baltimore (FOX, Univision)
July 22*            Semifinal, Atlanta (FOX Sports 1, Univision)
July 26*            Final, Philadelphia (FOX Sports 1, Univision)

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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