May 12, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Los Angeles Galaxy
VANCOUVER, B.C. - The LA Galaxy may not have picked up a victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday night at BC Place, losing 3-1. But despite the result, the match may be remembered as the start of something great for LA.
Homegrown forward Gyasi Zardes bagged his first professional goal in the 86th minute of the loss, briefly getting back into the game at 2-1. The goal wasn't a highlight reel strike as Zardes nodded a Jose Villarreal cross into the left corner of Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon's net, but it didn't make the goal any less meaningful.
"To be honest, it definitely felt like a blessing. It definitely felt good getting that goal. The score was definitely unfortunate, but it was definitely a blessing," Zardes said. "There are going to be more goals in the future to celebrate, but it was great."
Immediately upon coming into the match in the 67th minute, Zardes' speed tested the Whitecaps defense as he quickly went after Vancouver center back Andy O'Brien. It wasn't always easy, however, as Zardes suffered a knock on his ankle after winning a free kick against O'Brien just two minutes before his goal.
That Zardes' first career goal came from a Villarreal was fitting as Villarreal's own first professional goal came during the Galaxy's last trip to BC Place last July. One member of the Galaxy admitted that he was pleased for Zardes to get his first career goal under his belt.
"It's always good to get your first goal. I remember mine like it was yesterday," said Mike Magee, whose own first career MLS goal came on April 26, 2003 in a win for the MetroStars over the Columbus Crew. "He's a guy that could play a pretty important role for us this year so I think that it's great for him to get the first goal because that is usually the hardest."
Magee wasn't alone in tabbing Zardes for big things in the future.
"It was a good goal for him. A great ball by Jose and it got us back in the game. If we were a little better then maybe we tie the game. I'm very happy for him," said Landon Donovan. "He's worked hard coming back from his injury early on and we think that he's going to be someone that will help us."
With the Galaxy looking to kick start their attack and end their two-game slide, Zardes is an option to slide into LA's starting XI in Wednesday's match against the Philadelphia Union.
"Who knows? I'm just going to keep it in my mind to keep working hard," the 21-year-old said. "I'm going to let the coaches do their job and I'm just going to do mine."