So that’s why the Colorado Rapids traded for Gyasi Zardes.

The US men’s national team forward has been named MLS Player of the Week for Week 24 of the 2022 season, having tallied a hat trick in the Rapids’ 4-3 win over Minnesota United FC on Saturday.

Zardes scored twice inside the game’s first 15 minutes before a weather delay prompted an extended wait for his 61st-minute winner, which proved vital in staving off Minnesota’s late rally attempt.

Zardes joined Colorado in late April from the Columbus Crew, with ​​up to $1.4 million in General Allocation Money ($300,000 guaranteed) going the other way. The Designated Player took a while to find his footing, but now has five goals and one assist in the Rapids’ last six games.

Zardes has 94 career MLS goals, tying him with Atlanta United’s Josef Martínez for the 12th-most in MLS history and the second-most among active players, trailing only CF Montréal’s Kei Kamara (134). He’s now the fifth player in MLS history to record multiple hat tricks against the same team (October 2018 vs. Minnesota while with Columbus). 

The striker is Colorado’s first player to win MLS Player of the Week honors since now-Charlotte FC forward Andre Shinyashiki in Week 27 of the 2019 season. Among active players, Zardes’ six MLS Player of the Week awards are the third-most behind LAFC’s Carlos Vela (eight) and Atlanta’s Martinez (seven). 

After the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on Wednesday, Colorado will look to win three straight games for the first time since August 14-21, 2021 when hosting Columbus at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday (9 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).

The MLS Player of the Week presented by Continental Tire is selected each week of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.