Five weeks ago, Femi Hollinger-Janzen was struggling to put on his jersey as he prepared to make his MLS debut against the Philadelphia Union. On Wednesday, he was the instigator of a last-ditch, game-tying goal. Not bad for a guy selected 51st overall in the 2016 SuperDraft.
Heading into the season, expectations weren’t necessarily high for Hollinger-Janzen. Sure, he’s an imposing striker who had a decent scoring rate while at Indiana University, but Revs fans have seen players of this mold before with most exiting before they made much of an impact. Hollinger-Janzen has proven to be of a different breed, however, as he's already left his mark.
The rookie has made five appearances so far, more than Jordan McCrary and Michael Gamble, both of whom were drafted ahead of him. In his limited minutes, Hollinger-Janzen has proven to be a spark off the bench. Against Toronto FC, the 22-year-old nearly had an assist but was incorrectly denied when the referee ruled that the ball had gone out of bounds earlier.
Although he didn’t end up on the scoresheet that night, he did help his standing with head coach Jay Heaps. This is why the gaffer turned to Hollinger-Janzen when his team was down a goal to the Portland Timbers. The role of game-changer is typically filled by a veteran goal-scorer. Heaps, however, opted for the eager Hollinger-Janzen.
"He brought the energy," Heaps praised. "I thought Femi brought a level of energy that changed the whole thing and really won some balls…It was his energy, his commitment to make our team go forward and I was really happy with that because he was a young guy."
Just 19 minutes after being inserted into the game, Hollinger-Janzen forced Jermaine Taylor to score an own goal. It was a play that salvaged a point for the Revolution. Hollinger-Janzen won’t be credited with a goal or assist, but that won’t matter much to him. More important is the confidence he’s gaining as he continues to rack up the MLS minutes.
"It gives me confidence going forward," Hollinger-Janzen said. "I’m hungry for the next one, the next opportunity to get a goal there. I just want to make sure I put it away."