Gyasi Zardes scored twice against New England last week, impressing many LA Galaxy fans. Even mlssoccer.com editor Greg Lalas was impressed by Zardes' near post run to score one of his two goals, making it the subject of his Anatomy of a Goal series.
The Castrol Index also took notice of Zardes' play. The young attacker was previously listed at no. 202 overall, but rode his performance against New England to finish third on Castrol's weekly index. He jumped up 136 places with that performance, now sitting at no. 3.
When I reached out to the people behind the Index, they told me that Zardes' performance ranks in the top 1% of MLS performances this year in terms of credited points. When put up against hundreds of players performing each week, it's easy to see the rare brace being enough to be in that first percentile.
Over the two matches, Zardes took four short to mid-range shots. They were all on target, and two became goals. After at times trying to do too much last season, seeing him have that much restraint is quite promising.
His passing was still negative overall, costing him about a fifth of the credit he earned from his goalscoring. There's some analysts who suggest midfield Zardes is best because it allows him room to impress with his speed, but his passing is such that he's really better up top making quick runs. That near post run where he received the assist from Robbie Keane was a work of beauty.