KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Krisztian Nemeth made MLS history and drew comparisons to one of the league's greats, with the help of a teammate making his first MLS start in more than a year.
Right back Chance Myers, whose 2014 season ended with a ruptured Achilles tendon in late May, assisted on Nemeth's 32nd-minute strike in Sporting Kansas City's 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night – making Nemeth the only player since the league's founding to convert his first seven shots on goal in a single season.
“If you give that guy an inch of room he scores, and that for me was the defining moment of the game,” Rapids manager Pablo Mastroeni said in his postmatch news conference. “He’s one of those guys that doesn’t have to be involved for 90-plus minutes. He picks and chooses his moment, and when he strikes he’s very good.
“To be fair, he reminds of Landon (Donovan) – the ability to really find the corner with pace and trajectory from the service he uses. He’s really dynamic and clinical.'
Claudio Suarez, a central defender, also connected on his first seven shots on goal for the now-defunct Chivas USA, but over the span of two seasons (2006-07).
The Hungarian forward didn't know what he'd done until reporters asked him for his reaction after the match, though – and he all but shrugged off the feat, preferring to concentrate on a victory that kept Sporting unbeaten at home across all competitions this season.
“I'm happy for that. It's good,” he said. “I'm more happy for the team, how we organized and how we managed the game tonight. I always think about the team, and I'm happy that I can help with goals.”
Myers returned to action earlier this month in a U.S. Open Cup victory over Saint Louis FC – but this was different, he said, and not only because he played almost the full 90 on Saturday, after going 56 minutes against the USL side.
“Yeah, it's definitely a different level,” he said during Sporting's news conference. “Coming into this game I was a little bit more – obviously nervous, but excited to get the competition going and just challenge myself. Coming off 50 minutes in an Open Cup game and 90 minutes in an MLS game, it's a little different but I'm always up for a challenge.”
He got full marks from manager Peter Vermes for his play against the Rapids – and all the work that led up to his return, as well.
“He suffered a serious injury,” Vermes said during the news conference. “For him to be back and be playing at the level he's playing at this point, it's tremendous. I'm very happy to see the way that he's playing for him and, more importantly, for the club. He's a big part of the success we've had and will continue to have in the future.”
Nemeth, who was on international duty with Hungary for that Open Cup match, praised Myers' cross from the right flank – and their ability to link up so well in their first match action together.
“Fantastic,” he said. “He played a good ball – a little bit difficult, but he gave it to me at the right time. It was a good connection. It's a little bit of a secret, but we talked about the game: 'We're going to do this.' So it was a good combination.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.