Age at MLS Cup: 31
Hometown: Gyor, Hungary
ALL COMPETITIONS IN 2020:
Krisztian Nemeth had a uniquely brisk journey on the Crew’s 2020 championship timeline. He signed on October 5. He debuted on October 24. He scored an 84th minute game-winner against Philadelphia on November 1. He became an MLS Cup champion on December 12. His contract option was declined on December 14. It was all so brief, yet so Massive.
In many ways, Nemeth’s time with the 2020 Crew reminds me of Pat Noonan’s time with the 2008 Crew. Both players had achieved MLS success and then departed for Europe. Both players arrived mid-season to join a championship-in-progress via a bench role that allowed for some fantastic quality in a substitute’s role. And then both players had a signature goal in the championship campaign.
For Pat Noonan, it was this upper-90 game-tying blast in Toronto.
For Nemeth, it was this 84th minute game-winning goal against the Philadelphia Union. It was literally his first touch of the game after subbing on a minute earlier. Much like his Columbus tenure as a whole, it doesn’t get more efficient than that.
Krisztian Nemeth scored a signature goal and was part of a championship team despite being under contract to the Columbus Crew for a grand total of 69 days. Nice.
THORUGH JOSH’S EYES
“He’s another guy who arrived in the middle of a COVID year, so I felt bad for him.” [NOTE: In the Grant Lillard installment, Josh talked about how COVID impacted new arrivals in terms of disrupting the usual ways in which a newcomer integrates with a team.]
“Having played against him many times, he’s just one of those poachers. He’s an assassin. If you give him an opportunity, he’s going to be the guy that bangs one. You might be able to contain him most of the game, but he’s just one of those forwards where it just takes one opportunity. That’s why he’s been around for so long. You think you’ve had a successful game against him and you’ve kept him quiet all night and then he gets that one opportunity and he scores all of a sudden. I like having guys like that around. Even coming off the bench, he’s just a good piece to have.
“He came to us from the league in Slovakia and he had been off for a couple months. It took him a little time to regain match fitness, but he scored one of the biggest goals of the year against Philadelphia. It was a game-winner. To have Krisztian coming off the bench, not many teams have that where they can bring a guy like him off the bench. He’s just a great professional. You don’t score goals like that one against Philadelphia unless you’re ready for that moment. He’s another one of those guys where you had to bring it every day in training because he could hurt you at any moment.
“He’s just a good guy. He’s a quiet guy, but he quickly developed a pretty good relationship with Youness. He’s a quiet guy, but once you get to know him, he has so much experience. I’d pick his brain on all the places he’s played over the years. Just a class player. Very technical. He’s scored some brilliant goals in his career and won Goal of the Year with Kansas City in 2015. You can see the quality every day in training and he was just an amazing piece to have come off the bench.”
“That goal he scored for us against Philadelphia, just to be in the right position and to get a foot on it, it was kind of similar to the goal Lucas scored in MLS Cup. To have a guy like Krisztian, you don’t want to say he’s a luxury, but it really is a huge luxury. It was a huge day for him when he scored that goal because when you come into a new team, you look to have that moment where you can contribute and really feel part of the team and the brotherhood. It’s not like he wasn’t part of the team before that, but that was one of the biggest goals of the year. To get a big goal in a big game like that was huge not only for him, but us for realizing what he truly had in him. It was huge for his mentality and for us going forward.”
[NOTE: To see a clickable list of earlier installments of this Josh Williams series or other MLS Cup related posts, please click HERE.]
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