Colorado Rapids head coach Robin Fraser believes new striker Gyasi Zardes is a perfect fit for his team.
Zardes completed a trade to Colorado from the Columbus Crew on Friday and less than 24 hours later, came off the bench for his debut in the Rapids' 0-0 home draw with Charlotte FC.
The 30-year-old United States international ends a long-running search from the Rapids for a DP No.9 and while it's early days for him yet in Denver, Zardes seems to be fitting in quite well with his new teammates.
“I'm so excited to have him. He's an incredibly hard worker. He fits in. I feel like he's a Colorado Rapids player through and through,” Fraser said following Saturday's match. “He's unselfish. He works extremely hard. He's very team oriented, a very good person and I really feel like he's going to be very, very good for us because I think he's our people.”
He added: “I think he's going to be very good for us because he's unselfish and he works extremely hard and he's talented. So I feel like he's a really big addition for us and I certainly think it's going to be very, very beneficial for us to have him here.”
An important element to the Zardes signing for Colorado is that he arrives with a purpose. The USMNT have the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to look forward to and the starting striker spot is still wide open in Gregg Berhalter's side.
Zardes has 67 caps to his name so far and has been used regularly by Berhalter. Getting back among the goals for the Rapids would certainly boost his chances of spot on the roster and, possibly, in the starting XI when the big tournament comes around.
“This is the next chapter of my career and I'm excited,” Zardes said. "Because it's important as you look not only at the MLS level in the season, but you look at the national team level, as well. As a striker, you have to be playing games, you have to catch form, you have to be scoring goals to even get a sniff at representing your country.”
The Rapids are 12th in the Western Conference and host the Portland Timbers this weekend.