"A matter of time": Gyasi Zardes rounding into form for Colorado Rapids

Don’t look now, but Gyasi Zardes is heating up for the Colorado Rapids.

The striker now has two goals and an assist in his last three games, the latest of which was the insurance tally in a 2-0 win over the LA Galaxy Saturday night at home. Beforehand, his assist helped salvage a 2-2 draw at Real Salt Lake and his other goal pulled level in a 1-1 draw vs. Orlando City SC.

This upward momentum, as measured via boxscore stats, was inevitable, in head coach Robin Fraser’s view.

“Gyasi scores 20 goals, he scores three goals, his work attitude and training is going to be the exact same and his approach is going to be the same,” Fraser said. “I've heard this term used in referencing players, people might say [the] guy is a robot and people think of that as a negative thing. I would say Gyasi's a robot and that he is unflappable. Whatever happens, you get 100% commitment, 100% effort.

“The coaches were talking about this recently. He's doing so many things well, that it had to be a matter of time before he scored.”

Zardes was acquired by Colorado in late April in a trade with the Columbus Crew, who have since brought in club-record signing (reported $10 million) and Colombian international Cucho Hernandez as his replacement. The 30-year-old US international is in the last year of his contract, and the deal involved a guaranteed $300,000 in General Allocation Money and up to an additional $1.1 million in GAM if Zardes reaches multiple performance metrics and re-signs with Colorado for three years.

Those specifics aside, some frustration – at least externally – was mounting around a striker who hit double-digit goals every year from 2018-20. A dozen games into his Rapids career, with the club needing a dependable striker alongside leading scorer Diego Rubio, a strong push has arrived.

“This group and this locker room, they're – I mean, they really helped me a lot,” Zardes said. “They're constantly saying, 'Hey G, they'll come. We see the hard work you're doing.' You know, it's not like they don't see it. When they tell me that, that motivates me to work even harder.

“So I'm thankful for this team, this coaching staff that's always got my back when things are not falling my way and I owe all the credit to them, not me. I'm just going to keep working hard and they motivate me to step out in that field and give my all each and every single day."

Zardes’ newfound form helped Colorado snap a six-game winless streak, and puts the 12th-place side three points below the Western Conference’s Audi MLS Cup Playoffs line before Sunday’s seven-game ensemble completes Week 21. It also helped extend the Rapids’ unbeaten run against the Galaxy to eight games (6W-0L-2D).

For last year’s regular-season champions in the West, it’s about building with 14 matches left to climb the table and earn a third-straight playoff appearance. Next up, they’ll visit a slumping Seattle Sounders FC team on Saturday (10 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).

“I mean, amazing team performance – I think it was a deserved win,” said midfielder Ralph Priso, who made his Rapids debut after joining the club via trade from Toronto FC last week. “Three points, doesn’t get much better than that.”