In the quest for regular minutes, Krisztian Nemeth has run into his share of roadblocks.
Last season, a slow transition to Foxboro, a Revolution team with nothing to play for, and a foolish red card got in his way. This season, a two-match run with the Hungarian National Team forced him to miss two of the Revolution’s first five matches.
Now back from international duty, Nemeth should suit up for Friday’s match against the Montreal Impact. But this time, he’ll face a different challenge: a logjam of quality attackers.
Cristian Penilla, Diego Fagundez, and Teal Bunbury have developed into the cornerstone of Friedel’s attack. Kelyn Rowe and Juan Agudelo, both of whom remain in the National Team picture, have adopted roles as second-half subs. And Luis Caicedo and Brandon Bye have proven their worth as spot starters.
What does that mean for Nemeth? Lots of competition.
“The way all the players are playing, they’re all fighting for their places and that gives us a very, very nice problem to have when we go for selecting who’s going to be the starting 11,” Revs Head Coach Brad Friedel said during his midweek media availability. “Now, we’re getting to a point where we have very good players that we may have to leave out of the 18.”
Trading one of these attackers for a defender would give the Revs more balance. The back line has looked shaky through the first month of the season, and Friedel’s attack will get even deeper if Lee Nguyen, who held out during preseason, returns to action.
But Friedel seems content running with a deep crop of attacking players.
“[Competition is] what I wanted to have and that’s what we’re getting,” he said. “The training sessions are very competitive. I think if we can keep having this competitive environment, it’ll bode well for us when the matches come.”
Friedel remains high on Nemeth. The first-year coach said “he’s a tremendous finisher” with “technical qualities.” But with Penilla and Fagundez patrolling the flanks—and Bunbury and Agudelo splitting matches up top—that praise does little to guarantee minutes for the Hungarian attacker.
Instead, Nemeth will need to chip away at the starters above him on Friedel’s depth chart. That’s exactly what Friedel wants, and expects, of the former Liverpool forward.
And if Nemeth is unable to rise up the ranks, Friedel would be wise to make a move after all.