FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – One appearance. One minute played. One assist.
That’s Krisztián Németh’s official stat line after making his New England Revolution debut on Saturday night, coming on in second-half stoppage time and using his first touches to assist on Teal Bunbury’s capper in the Revs’ 4-0 win over Orlando City SC.
While it was somewhat unexpected for Németh to make such an immediate impact, it wasn’t exactly a surprise to the teammates and coaches who’ve seen the 28-year-old striker work hard to whip himself into shape for the past three weeks.
“He’s been showing what he can do in training and back when he was playing with [Sporting KC]. We all knew what he could do,” said Bunbury. “I was really excited just because he’s been putting the work in. Being able to step on the field in front of our fans and contribute in that way was great.”
Németh called it “a positive debut,” but his primary concern was the result, a critical victory that pulled the Revs to within four points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“I was happy for my assist, but the most important, of course, was the team; how we played and scored goals and created chances,” Németh said. “I was happy for the team and now we get some confidence for the next few games, and then we can fight for playoff position.”
Németh is hoping to play a larger role as the Revs make that push for the playoffs in the final eight games of the regular season. He’s nearing full fitness having recently overcome a calf strain, and he could be in line for more minutes when the Revs host the Montreal Impact on Saturday night.
“Now it’s about managing the minutes,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “(It’s about) getting him on the field, but also pushing him during the week so that he can gain fitness, and also be impactful on the game.”
“I want to play more minutes and be on the field, but I have to work hard for that because, of course, it’s difficult to come in the middle of the season and not 100 percent fit,” Németh said. “But I work hard during the week and then I hope for the next few games, I’ll get more minutes and I can show my qualities.
“In training, I feel better every day. I just need now games and some minutes on the field, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be fit as soon as possible.”