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Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by Scotty, Sep 11, 2014.
Sheesh... that was a pretty touch, turn, and pass. Well played Zardes
It was a fantastic assist, he did well. Each time I watch the replay, I'm somewhat convinced that even Zardes was surprised by his first touch for a split second. If he can continually replicate that type of turn in the future, it will be a vital tool for him to beat pressure with his back to goal.
Zardes does a lot more right than most people on here are willing to admit.
He is far from our biggest problem.
Who brought up Dempsey?
That was far from the first time I've seen a clever first touch from him result in a goal or an excellent scoring change. I wasn't surprised.
Quite literally the best play on a soccer field I've ever seen him do. His turn can't happen without Pulisic's run that made the defender drop to cover CP, but still it was a great first touch on a long ball and even better second. Were he able to do that with regularity, he would be an easy choice for our 9, but I tend to think that play was more of an outlier from his trend. I hope I'm wrong going forward as it would be nice to have a guy who can excel at hold-up and distribution.
That's one of you.
Zardes probably has the best soccer brain in the forward pool currently.
No, that's Sargent.
And Christian Ramirez is the anti-Zardes. He knows where to be, and makes great runs, but he lacks the speed and athleticism that GZ has.
Wondo's probably got a shout too, but he isn't in the pool anymore. He relied on his brain to make up for his athleticism and is going to break the MLS scoring record doing so.
Tough to compare Zardes to Sargent. The latter needs more reps at senior level for both club and country.
Ramirez hasn't been as consistent a performer at MLS level.
Wondo's 'brain' never translated to international level.
1. Sargent makes those runs all the time in the Bundesliga, whereas Zardes has never been able to play at that level.
2. Silly to say that. Zardes is the only good striker on Columbus, after losing out to more-talented strikers on LAG. Ramirez followed an opposite path, going from being the only good striker on Minnesota United to an LAG analog in LAFC. Zardes has over 1/3rd of his professional goals from his abnormally-good 2018 season. Counting his playoff goal, Ramirez has scored 10 and 14 goals... So inconsistent, right?
Regular season goals since 2017 (first year Ramirez played with MNUFC):
Zardes is so much better though, right?
3. True. But it never translated because the athleticism and technical abilities were never there. It was good enough for Wondo to be one of the best MLS strikers ever, despite never being very good technically or physically. There's a reason John Terry praised Wondo after playing him in 2012, and it's not because he was trying to sunshine-pump an MLS striker in a tiny market. He's not even a particularly good striker of the ball, but he's always moving off the defender's back shoulder or getting into position to pounce on loose balls. That's all brains, no brawn, good for an MLS career that far outstrips many good MLS strikers, including Zardes.
If we're comparing "soccer IQ", it seems a reasonable inference that a player who became successful solely through his clever movement and anticipation would be an especially intelligent player.
1. Sargent will be worthy of discussion once he gets more than a few starts in the B1.
2. Zardes scored 17 goals including one in MLS Cup. His subsequently getting moved to midfield was without merit. But whatever.
Zardes has had a 17 goal season and a 19 goal season.
Ramirez is 27 years old and only in his 3rd year at the top American level. And 10 goals is not a big deal.
3. This is the NT forum.
How many runs can Sargent have made in his total of 186 minutes of Bundesliga play?
How many times more minutes is 186 compared to Zardes' 0? Infinite? He's been making the same runs that he's been making for the YNT, for the MNT, for the WB youth teams, and the WB first team.
WB obviously likes his potential but seem to think he isn’t quite ready for senior team. Could just be some physical maturity. His time will come. Rushing things isn’t always the best for player or team, no matter how outraged fans might be.
Eddie Johnson made runs in the EPL. Conor Casey made runs in the B1. Great.
You are describing Zardes here.
1. OK, whatever floats your boat.
2. Zardes has scored:
4, 16, 6, 6, 2, 19
That's not very consistent. I'm not sure why LAG moved him out of the ST role when, IIRC, all they had outside of him at ST was Keane. But that's just the price you seem to pay when you only have one great season under Donovan, and eventually, get moved to RB. Probably to take advantage of his athleticism and stamina, because he didn't finish his chances well enough.
Meanwhile, Ramirez scored 51 in 90 games (2 seasons) for Minnesota in the NASL, which is roughly twice as good as Zardes' 55 career MLS goals in 167 games. Lower level to be sure, but not twice-as-easy-to-score. That's consistency. And he certainly was never moved to RB...
3. I already had the caveat that he wasn't in the pool, so your dismissal of Wondo seems silly.
Once again, Zardes' seasons in MLS: 4, 16, 6, 6, 2, 19
Yet, Wondo, who gets no credit for tearing up MLS far better than Zardes ever has, has double-digit goals 9 years in a row:
18, 16, 27, 11, 14, 16, 12, 13, 10.
So, at 29, not-international-quality-Wondo bagged 27 goals, way above Zardes' best year ever. As a player with few physical gifts (unless you'd argue that Wondo is a more physically-gifted player than Zardes?). And I'm supposed to believe that Zardes is a savvier, more cerebral, player?
GZ also relies his athleticism to score goals and body up on defenders. To run past them, or get in front of them to score a cross. To out-jump them.
Ramirez lacks much of that athleticism. And that was my point. If you look at 2 players, one of whom relies on their athleticism and stamina, and both are finishing balls close to the net (nobody mentioned is a long-shot taker), I think you need to be cleverer to make good runs when you can't use athleticism to make them effective.
For 5 MLS seasons, Zardes was played primarily at forward. One was his rookie year. Another, was the injury-plagued 2017 season. In another two, he scored 17 and 20 goals in league and playoffs. In the last, this current season he is already on 2 goals in 3 games.
USL isn't relevant to this discussion.
I didn't bring up Wondo. Someone else did, so I addressed Wondo's relevance.
But Wondo gets brought up again! Consistent high-level performances at MLS level or higher should get a player opportunities with the NT. That is all. Wondo got the caps but showed he wasn't NT level, after all.
Zardes mainly relies on his work-rate and soccer IQ to create goals. He's not a golazo scorer. He lacks the elite pace needed to blow past players. He lacks great technique. He does know where to be, though.
USL is relevant if you're pretending that Ramirez isn't a "consistent" goalscorer because he's "only" scored 10 and 14 goals in 2 years in MLS. Both of which are better than Zardes' 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017 seasons. AKA, better than 2/3rds of Zardes' career.
Zardes gets moved around to find places for him to be successful. Ramirez has been a striker his whole career. 2nd division stats are relevant everywhere else in the world, no reason why they can't be in this case. And they're there mainly to show consistency. People thought Ramirez would struggle in MLS because he was "only" someone who tore up the NASL, and he ended up being Minnesota United's best player that first season.
And "the person who brought up Wondo" was me. Consider quoting people so you don't get confused. I said something perfectly reasonable (note the bolded text):
"Wondo's probably got a shout too, but he isn't in the pool anymore. He relied on his brain to make up for his athleticism and is going to break the MLS scoring record doing so."
If the discussion is in the NT forum then Ramirez's USL record, especially for someone his age, isn't relevant.
Zardes got moved to different positions to make way for LAG's DP signings. He is a striker who can also play wide positions.
There was no confusion over who brought up Wondo. It simply sure as hell wasn't me, which is what mattered. He was never a remotely successful international, so didn't belong in the convo.
You mean Josh Sargent? The promising young guy who has barely had a cup of coffee in the BL. How exactly has he been making these runs all the time in the BL? In your dreams or FIFA19?
Josh's skillset immediately translated in the Bundesliga, a higher level of play than Gyasi Zardes has ever reached. His ideas are good, his teammates just often can't get him the ball, or he's bodied off by a defender.
If you're going to argue only about "international success", then you'd have to recognize that Gyasi Zardes' best period of play with the USMNT was as a hard-working right midfielder/right winger. LAG weren't the only ones to move him out of that Striker role.
And for all the schtick JK gets, it's not as if Arena came along and brought him back into the fold as a Striker. It's been GGG that's chosen that, but I think we'll find that we're much more successful with different strikers in that spot.