Gyasi Zardes Player of the Week 11

Two games in a week is always a difficult task in Major League Soccer, but Gyasi Zardes made it a little easier for Columbus Crew SC in Week 11.

The forward was integral in ensuring maximum points for Crew SC, which defeated the Philadelphia Union, 1-0, last Wednesday before knocking off the Chicago Fire, 3-0, on Saturday, to move into second place in the Eastern Conference. 

Zardes played a part in all four goals scored, finding the back of the net three times and setting up a Federico Higuain penalty kick, to earn Alcatel MLS Player of the Week honors for Week 11.

Zardes, who is tied with Atlanta United’sJosef Martinez atop the Golden Boot race with eight goals, began his week by scoring the winner against the Union, tapping in at the back post after a Cristian Martinez endline cross defected off Andre Blake.

Back at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, Zardes continued his influential ways against the Fire. He was pulled down inside the box by Kevin Ellis trying to latch onto a Harrison Afful cross, resulting in an Higuain converted penalty kick in the 28th minute.

Five minutes into the second half, Zardes again easily slotted in with his left foot at the edge of the six following a hard-charging Niko Hansen run down the right flank and then put the game away with his second on the game in the 70th minute.

Ricardo Clark played a square ball toward Mike Grella at the edge of the 18-yard box. Grella’s dummy opened up Zardes, who finished low and hard with his right from 16 yards out. It was Zardes' sixth all-time multi-goal performance and second this season 

Zardes, who arrived in Columbus via a trade with the LA Galaxy on Jan. 20, has already surpassed his goal output of each of his last three seasons and is halfway to matching his career high when he netted 16 goals in his second season with the Galaxy in 2014.

The Alcatel MLS Player of the Week is chosen each week of the regular season by members of the North American Soccer Reporters. The organization includes print, television, radio and online journalists who cover domestic men's soccer in the United States and Canada.