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MLS Rundown: Gyasi Zardes Position Debate



It would be an understatement to say that Gyasi Zardes toiled through a disappointing and woefully frustrating 2017 campaign that was waylaid by injuries – both his own and his LA Galaxy teammates’ – and struggles to locate his best form.

Zardes, one of the veterans in a US national team camp under interim US coach Dave Sarachan, is thankful for the opportunity and is hoping to parlay it into something big when the Major League Soccer campaign kicks off in March. He’s healthy and fit after a busy offseason, and ready to put last year behind him.

“I sustained two devastating injuries last year, and I had to grow from that,” he told following a training session. “The biggest thing is finding form and finding rhythm. You have to be consistent, and you have to be good, so I think that’s the biggest thing when you come back [from injury]. You have your good days, you have your bad days, but it’s all about consistency.”

Zardes, who had missed the end of the 2016 season with a fractured foot, suffered a knee injury during last year’s January camp that required surgery and forced him to miss the first month of MLS play, and he never found his best footing the rest of the way.

It didn’t help that LA used makeshift lineups much of the season, thanks to an injury crisis and substandard depth, Zardes split time up front and on the wing before Sigi Schmid slotted him in at right back, the most problematic position for the Galaxy last year, for three September games. A groin injury Sept. 30 ended his season and kept him out of the national team’s pivotal World Cup qualifiers in October.

Sarachan sees him as a winger – Zardes says left wing is his best position – but where he’ll play for the Galaxy isn’t certain.

“Every coach has a different view of where a player’s value is,” Sarachan said. “I’m looking to play Gyasi in the wide position. I think there’s debate on, shouldn’t he still be a forward? Can he be a right back? And time will tell, but for my purposes with this group, we’re going to look at him as a wide player.

“I think he’s improved in that position and at least has a lot of experience now playing there, so he understands that role a lot better.”


Chicago Fire have announced that they have re-signed goalkeeper Richard Sanchez for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, with a club option for 2020. 23-year-old Sanchez made two appearances last year for Chicago after the Fire acquired him last August, who he joined from Liga MX side Tigres UANL.

“We’re pleased to have Richard return to the Fire,” said Fire general manager Nelson Rodríguez in a statement. “He got valuable minutes under his belt last season and we’re looking forward to his continued growth as a goalkeeper.”

Sanchez, who originally turned pro with FC Dallas, has seen his biggest success on the youth international level for Mexico. He helped El Tri to a FIFA U-17 World Cup title in 2011 and appeared in all four of Mexico’s matches in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2013.


As he considers his next destination, former New York Red Bull Gonzalo Veron has a suitor in his homeland, according to a new report. Notife reports that Argentine side Club Atletico Colon have made an offer to the 28-year-old attacker, whose MLS rights were claimed by D.C. United in last month’s re-entry draft but is not currently under contract.

A Designated Player when he first joined the Red Bulls in 2015, Veron didn’t quite live up to expectations over two-and-a-half years in New York, scoring 10 goals and four assists in 60 regular-season appearances. But he became a useful substitute during the last campaign, netting six goals and three assists in 777 minutes before chipping in a goal during RBNY’s run in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Red Bulls’ Atlantic Cup rivals in D.C. grabbed his rights after New York declined his 2018 option, but are now waiting to see if Veron elects to stay in MLS and join the Black-and-Red, or take up an offer elsewhere.

Based in the city of Santa Fe, Colon currently sit in seventh place in Argentina’s Primera División and are also competing in the Copa Sudamericana in the months ahead. Veron is a known quantity in his native land thanks in large part to his role on the San Lorenzo squad that won the 2014 Copa Libertadores and represented South America at the Club World Cup.


Following up on yesterday’s ‘Any Other Business’, Montreal Impact have been linked to two potential signings from Europe, Olympique Marseille veteran Rod Fanni and Canadian international Michael Petrasso.

Fanni has yet to make an appearance for Marseille this season and recently criticised the club for “unfair” treatment in an outspoken interview with L’Equipe, declaring himself in top physical shape and deserving of more opportunities despite his age.

A former member of Toronto FC’s academy who left Canada to join England’s Queens Park Rangers as a teenager, Petrasso is now a free agent after he and QPR terminated his contract by mutual consent earlier this month. He made a handful of first-team appearances for QPR in the English Championship in recent seasons after spending time on several loan stints at lower-division clubs from 2013 to 2015. Now 22, the winger was a regular in the Canadian youth national team system growing up and has eight caps with Les Rouges’ senior squad, including being part of last summer’s Gold Cup squad.

Any Other Business…

Real Salt Lake have re-signed long-serving midfielder Kyle Beckerman on a multi-year contract… LA Galaxy are set to release their new kit this Sunday at the club’s annual season-ticket-member launch party.