In many ways it was a classic Zardes goal, in which he made an incisive run to get in position for a cross that he karate-kicked past Zac MacMath. It was the 26-year-old’s birthday, and now, as a relative elder statesman, local fans have seen the Galaxy’s longest-tenured player at both his hottest and coldest.
Of course, sometimes cold streaks take on a weight that becomes harder and harder to carry.
“Anytime a goalscorer gets a goal,” said Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid, “it takes this huge anvil or whatever you want to call it off his back. You got it off your back and now you can walk a little prouder, you can be a little more relaxed, and you’re a little more confident the next time you get there. So for him it was a very important goal.”
Not one to brag about his own accomplishments, Zardes was more focused on the team getting three points than any sort of anvil removal. The pressure of the cold streak and the pressure of the winless streak were both alleviated on the same night.
“There’s always pressure,” said Zardes, “but it’s how you deal with it, and I felt like my teammates and I dealt with a lot of pressure over the past couple of months and we came out here to battle hard, work for each other, and be victorious.”
His teammates, who have seen the work he’s put in at practice each week, were happy to see him finally break through with a goal. For Jermaine Jones, these sorts of streaks are part and parcel of a striker’s job. Instead of focusing on what isn’t going right, forwards have to have short memories, he said.
“We said every game,” said Jones, “you have to keep working and goals will come. That’s the game of the striker. I’ve played with so many and the best ones are the ones that don’t care. They go out there and score goals. I think Gyasi scoring on his birthday is amazing for him. We’re all happy with the win the bag, he scored and can celebrate.”
For Emmanuel Boateng, that hard work, coupled with an unselfish attitude, is what makes Zardes an ideal teammate.
“He works hard, he doesn’t complain. During the second half we had a breakaway where he pulled me in, I gave it back to him and he tried to give me the ball back," Boateng said of Zardes. "He just wants the best for the team.
“A lot of things he does for this team; I’m happy he got this one on his birthday.”