Columbus Crew: Gyasi Zardes emerging as early front runner to win Golden Boot

Gyasi Zardes #11 of the Columbus Crew SC - (Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images).
Gyasi Zardes #11 of the Columbus Crew SC - (Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images). /

A stellar start to the season has put Gyasi Zardes in a position to win the Golden Boot.

He may not be currently leading the Golden Boot race, but Gyasi Zardes is just one goal away from tying Diego Rossi’s league-leading six goals.

The Columbus Crew striker scored yet another goal for his club during a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Fire. With five goals to his name, Zardes doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of slowing down any time soon.

Gyasi Zardes as a great chance because injuries leave the race wide open

The unfortunate injury Josef Martinez sustained during the first match of the season left the race for Golden Boot under the control of LAFC’s Carlos Vela. After scoring 34 goals during the 2019 campaign, Vela appeared poised to defend his title.

However, Vela did pick up an injury in his first match back against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday. As a result, it’s unclear what his season will look like moving forward.

With both of Major League Soccer’s clinical goalscorers absent from the top of the race, the remaining contenders are beginning to emerge.

At the moment, Zardes has to be the player in the best position. Rossi, the current Golden Boot leader, is a very talented attacking player, but he is not a pure striker, which may hurt his chances of matching Zardes when it comes to goals scored.

Gyasi Zardes is an effective striker

Zardes has been supplied with the service he needs to be an effective striker. With the addition of Lucas Zelarayan, the Crew has gained another playmaker who can help create opportunities for Zardes to capitalize on in the final third.

Although Zelarayan has been suffering from a recent ankle injury, Pedro Santos appears ready to step in to continue to supply chances for Zardes. As long as Zardes can get chances in front of goal, then the goals should continue to come.

This wouldn’t be the first time Zardes has had a tremendous season in terms of goal scoring with the Crew. During the 2018 campaign, he scored 19 goals in 33 regular-season appearances. He ended up finishing tied for fourth in 2018, which is the closest he’s come to winning the Golden Boot in his career.

Even with the shortened season due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, there is a chance Zardes could end up with an outstanding goal tally at the end of the regular season.

His second-most productive season was with the Galaxy when he scored 16 goals in 2014. The Crew still has 17 matches to play, and there are going to be plenty of opportunities for Zardes to find the back of the net.

As the regular season continues, this will be an interesting storyline to watch as Zardes chases his first-ever Golden Boot in MLS. He’s one of the United States Men’s National Team’s best strikers, and a tremendous 2020 season could be in store for the MLS veteran.

Next. MLS Power Rankings heading into The Return. dark