The Call Up

“We surprised everyone": Philadelphia’s Daniel Gazdag knocks down England

It's a good time to be Daniel Gazdag. The 26-year-old midfielder is a key starter for a Philadelphia Union side that's one point off the MLS Eastern Conference lead.

And he just scored the final goal in Hungary’s stunning 4-0 win over England at Molineux Stadium in UEFA Nations League play.

Yes, life is good.

Gazdag, who's in his second season with the Union, discussed his move to MLS and Hungary’s shock start in the Nations League with Jillian Sakovits and Susannah Collins on the latest edition of The Call Up.

Gazdag signed with the Union last May from Hungarian side Honved. It was his first move abroad and came at a time his wife was pregnant.

“The first two, three months was a bit tough,” he said. “I came first alone because of visa problems so that was a bit tough for me. But after that everything was alright and everyone was so nice with me here, so helpful. So I really enjoy to be in Philadelphia now.”

Gazdag discussed the potential move with Sporting Kansas City homegrown forward Daniel Salloi, a friend and former youth national teammate. He had other suitors in Europe, but Gazdag was persuaded by Union head coach Jim Curtin and sporting director Ernst Tanner.

“I think Philadelphia found me first. After that we start to negotiate and I really felt they want me,” said Gazdag, adding Curtin particularly played a big role in his move. “Jim called me, also the sporting director called me. So I felt they want me to be here, they need me. That is the reason I choose them.”

There were adjustments aplenty for Gazdag, from playing in a new league and learning to speak English. But he’s adapted well, providing seven goals and three assists in 15 games this year for a Union side carrying serious MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield aspirations.

Gazdag's also playing well for his country, too. He’s been capped 15 times for Hungary and has three international goals – two in a failed Qatar 2022 World Cup qualification bid and then in Nations League against England.

The lopsided nature of the latter result sent shockwaves around the globe – and surprised the Hungarian players as well.

“It’s a huge result for Hungary and Hungarian football. Nobody expected this result before the game,” Gazdag said. “We have been really confident because we beat them in Hungary 10 days before 1-0, so we had been confident. But 4-0, that's something special and everyone was so happy after the game and I think all the Hungarians were so proud of us.”

And in a Nations League group that features England, Germany and Italy, it’s Hungary that sits atop Group C after four matches. Gazdag said confidence is soaring to get points from their final two group-stage matches, at Germany on Sept. 23 and home vs. Italy three days later.

“Nobody expected us to be like this,” Gazdag said. “The questions were before the games could we even get one point or something like that. But we surprised everyone.”

Check out the entire episode of The Call Up.