Austin FC’s veteran striker Gyasi Zardes opened the scoring on Saturday night with his 100th MLS goal during the Copa Tejas match against state rivals the Houston Dynamo.
Zardes, who was in good form heading into Matchday 15, scored in a third straight match and became just the 13th player in MLS history to reach the century mark.
Even though Austin went on to lose the game, Zardes’ clinically precise header off Nick Limas’ cross into Steve Clark’s net is a goal the 31-year-old striker and fans will savor for years to come.
“It’s huge, man. It’s something I dreamed about ever since I went pro and just to see the day that I hit 100 goals man, like you. I’ve been watching forwards for many years in this league and to see myself join the 100 club, it’s a blessing,” Zardes told Bradley Wright-Phillips on MLS 360. “It’s a huge honor. But I always give credit to my teammates man, because they help provide the service for us strikers, you know?”
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Coincidentally, Zardes joins Wright-Phillips in the elite list of MLS players with 100 or more goals.
Zardes added that the importance of the goal is not only for him, but for his family as well, noting his son who is currently developing as a player in Austin’s youth academy.
“I have a son that’s playing with the academy and man, everything I do, I know he’s watching me,” Zardes said. “This ball, I need to go find and I’m glad you mentioned that because I don’t know where it’s at. I need to go find it but man, everything I do is for them. They motivate me to keep working, keep grinding, wake up every morning and give them my all, so this is definitely one that’s going on the mantle. And it’s motivation to keep working hard to keep moving up that leaderboard.”
Though Austin lost, Zardes’ goal has the positive connotation of showing that the Verde & Black’s offseason signing, the club’s biggest, was not a gamble given his slow start in the season with zero goals through 11 appearances.
He joins Inter Miami CF’s Josef Martínez who also got on the century list a few weeks ago.
The loss did bite Zardes a bit, given Austin’s recent two-game winning run.
“It’s a tough result because we’ve had the squad to get the job done. But we didn’t get it done today,” he said. “But it’s important that we regroup and stay close together and focus on Wednesday because the games are coming quick.
“We’re playing Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday, so we have a huge opportunity this Wednesday play Minnesota, which is in our conference, and it’s important we get the job done at home.”