New England hope Nemeth brings more competition, attacking possiblities

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – After signing Krisztian Nemeth mere hours before the Secondary Transfer Window’s close, coach Jay Heaps and general manager Mike Burns both described the New England Revolution’s glut of attackers as a good problem to have.

Then, following their 1-0 home win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night, those who will soon be competing with the Hungarian forward for minutes echoed that very sentiment. In particular, captain and midfield maestro Lee Nguyen harped on how Nemeth enjoyed a strong 2015 with Sporting Kansas City, netting 10 goals and chipping in six assists.

“You guys have seen it, he’s very effective, he’s been effective in this league,” Nguyen said. “He’s proven himself. It’s good to have a quality player like him come into this squad because it’s going to help with our attack. We have players who can combine and we can go direct if we have to. Now this adds another piece to our free-flowing attack.”

As part of that free-flowing attack, Heaps said last week that he envisions Nemeth play a slew of positions, including out wide in a front three, paired next to another striker, or underneath a target forward. Wherever the 28-year-old ends up, he’s sure to compete for minutes from the get-go with several Revs who are in form.

For one, Teal Bunbury, has four goals in New England’s last five games, while Kei Kamara has four goals in his last four games. Then there’s Nguyen, the owner of eight goals and 10 assists, as well as striker Juan Agudelo who also has eight tallies to his name. And lastly, Heaps has creative midfielders Kelyn Rowe and Diego Fagundez to throw into the mix.

It’s a logjam of sorts with only so much playing time to go around, but that’s not deterring Rowe one bit.

“We all know he’s a great player, right?,” Rowe said rhetorically. “He did well in this league for [Kansas City] and he’s a guy we want to add to a roster where we already have a very talented team. He’s going to add more competition throughout the week, more competition on Saturdays and hopefully add to our attack and finish off some good chances on this run going forward.”

Just as Rowe mentioned, Nemeth’s introduction comes during a 3-1 stretch for the Revs, one in which they’ve netted nine times. So the question, therefore, lingers as to how the player, whom the Revolution used Targeted Allocation Money to sign, fits into the broader picture.

Heaps said Nemeth already has his P-1 visa and is awaiting receipt of his international transfer certificate, so he is set to join the team on Monday. And once he gets into training, there’s also the matter of gauging how fit Nemeth is, as he last played in the spring with Al-Gharafa, the Qatari club he spent 2016 with. 

So, the Revs will assess where Nemeth is at – as well as recent signing Claude Dielna, a Designated Player and center back – and go from there.

“Ideally we’d get the players earlier in the window and the concern is how fit they are and pushing them back too soon,” Heaps said. “There’s definitely going to be a period of adjustment and trying to get them acclimated without throwing off the depth that we’re adding.”