Gyasi Zardes nets 1st career hat trick as Columbus Crew clinch MLS playoff spot

Columbus Crew striker Gyasi Zardes picked a great time to score his first MLS hat trick. The 27-year-old’s three goals on Sunday helped Columbus to a 3-2 win over Minnesota United, clinching the Eastern Conference’s No. 5 seed for the postseason.

And the Crew needed a win to guarantee a playoff spot. It was two points ahead of Montreal entering the final day of the regular season. Due to an hour-long lightning delay of its match, Columbus was able to watch most of Montreal’s game against New England. By halftime, at which point the Crew led 1-0, Columbus knew Montreal had lost. A win would improve the Crew’s seeding.

Columbus will face fourth-seeded D.C. United on Thursday in a knockout game.

Zardes’ trifecta gave him 19 goals on the season — a new career-high and tied for fourth-best in MLS this year. In his first season with Columbus, Zardes credited the system with his resurgence. He scored 16 goals with the L.A. Galaxy in 2014, but didn’t net more than six in a season since. Zardes was traded to Columbus in January.

Earlier this month, he joined the Sports Spectrum Podcast to discuss transitioning to Columbus, his time with the U.S. national team, what faith looks like in the MLS, and how sharing a hashtag on his social media pages has helped him be more intentional about his faith in Christ.

— NEW PODCAST: Gyasi Zardes, Team USA/Columbus Crew Forward
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