Taking a break from working on #CrewLegends stuff to take a quick dive into some legendary work by current Crew striker Gyasi Zardes. Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. wore a Zardes jersey up in Cleveland this week and it was certainly a good week to rep the Crew striker. He scored a hat-trick to lead Columbus to a 3-2 win over Minnesota in the season finale.
Here are some possibly interesting Zardes facts resulting from that game.
- His hat-trick was the 12th regular season hat-trick in Crew history and he became the 8th Crew player to ever score at least three goals in a game. (Stern John did it five times, thus the discrepancy.)
- Zardes became the 4th player in Crew history to score all of his team’s goals with a hat-trick, joining Ross Paule (2004), Edson Buddle (4 goals in 2004), and Justin Meram (2017).
- Gyasi’s 87th minute game-winning goal was only the second time in Crew history that a player capped a hat trick with a tie-breaking game-winning goal. The other was Justin Meram’s 92nd minute Mother’s Day present on May 13, 2017.
- Gyasi’s 19 goals this year were the third-most in Crew history, trailing only Stern John’s 26-goal season in 1998 and Kei Kamara’s 22-goal campaign in 2015.
- Zardes scored 17 of his 19 goals at home. That’s a home/road split that would appear to make him a member of the Colorado Rockies, not the Columbus Crew. His two road goals were March 3 at Toronto and August 18 at Atlanta.
- The 17 home goals by Zardes trail only John’s 20 in 1998, and therefore are the most in MAPFRE Stadium history. Before the hat-trick, Gyasi had been tied for second in home goals and most at MAPFRE with 2015 Kei Kamara at 14.
- That final goal on Sunday not only won the game and completed the hat-trick, it also pushed Zardes past Stern John for the largest home/road differential in Crew history. John score 20 home goals and 6 road goals in 1998. His +14 seemed unassailable until Gyasi overtook him at +15 by capping a hat-trick with three minutes left in the season.
- The Crew went a dozen years without a hat-trick, but since ending the drought, they have now recorded a hat-trick in three consecutive seasons courtesy of Ola Kamara (2016), Justin Meram (2017), and Zardes (2018).
- According to research by Paul Carr of TruMedia Sports, Zardes became the first MLS player with a last name starting with Z to record a hat-trick. (You missed your chance, Jed Zayner.)