Shkelzen Gashi scores double to win Albanian MLS derby with Hyka

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 15, 2017 15:58

Shkelzen Gashi scores double to win Albanian MLS derby with Hyka

Story Highlights

  • The Switzerland-born striker of Kosovo roots Albania international who has not been called up by coach De Biasi in the national side's past three qualifier played a full 90 minutes against Jahmir Hyka, the new Earthquakes signing who has already scored twice since joining last February

Related Articles

TIRANA, May 15 – Albania international Shkelzen Gashi scored a brace to help his Colorado Rapids get a much-needed victory following a poor start to beat the San Jose Earthquakes and their Albania international midfielder Jahmir Hyka in a small derby of Albanian roots at the U.S. Major League Soccer.

The 28-year-old forward, who was the Rapids key player last year, had yet to find the net until last weekend when he scored his first two goals of the season for the Rapids in their 3-0 home victory against the Earthquakes following five consecutive losses that have seen last year’s second best regular season Western Conference club rank bottom so far this year..

The Switzerland-born striker of Kosovo roots Albania international who has not been called up by coach De Biasi in the national side’s past three qualifier played a full 90 minutes against Jahmir Hyka, the new Earthquakes signing who has already scored twice since joining last February. The 29-Albanian playmaker who has been a regular starter this season, was replaced in the second half as the Quakes were down 3-0.

“I was happy I could play 90 minutes, that was cool, but obviously you wish you win the game. Unlucky, unlucky, we need to stay positive. We need and we want to win the next home game,” Gashi said as quoted by the Denver Post.

The Rapids top 2016 scorer with nine goals including one voted MLS goal of the year and another that kept their season alive in a playoff series with Los Angeles, has missed three games and was a late substitute in two others due to Achilles injury this season.

“In this past game Gashi was a catalyst for what we did going forward, breaking lines with our passing taking guys on, switching the point of attack,” said Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni.

Jahmir Hyka is also making a perfect Major League Soccer debut with the Quakes, having played in all 11 matches and scoring twice, including a stoppage time equalizer.

Hyka, who started his career in his hometown of Tirana before playing in Norwegian, Greek, German and Swiss top leagues, is also a regular with Albania’s national team, having scored twice in 43 caps and with a key contribution to Albania’s debut at a major competition such as the Euro 2016.

Hyka is the third Albania international to play in the Major League Soccer after Hamdi Salihi’s 2012-2013 spell with D.C. United.

The Albanian national side has been facing some tough time in their World Cup qualifying bid following their first ever appearance at a major tournament such as the Euro 2016.

Having played all five first round matches, Albania now see themselves rank fourth with only six points, trailing leaders Spain and Italy by seven points and lagging behind three points third-placed Israel, who now remain Albania’s sole rival in the fight for a third place in group G of the World Cup qualifiers.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 15, 2017 15:58