Peter Vermes has had a knack for drafting industrious, contributing forwards during his time with Sporting KC.
Teal Bunbury, C.J. Sapong and Dom Dwyer were all drafted under the Vermes regime, and at one point, all provided goals for the club.
While Sporting KC have drafted and developed good young strikers, the team have been unlucky in finding similar players from abroad. However, this season the club struck gold when Hungarian international Krisztian Nemeth signed on a free transfer.
Nemeth came to Kansas City with a lengthy CV, he is now on his ninth team in ten years, which saw him play for Dutch side Roda from 2012 to 2014. Yet, that journeyman past has served him well.
Nemeth’s travels, playing in five different countries, have provided him with experience against a variety of players, skills and tactics. Something Sporting’s draftees tend to lack coming out of the college ranks.
Since signing in December of last year, Nemeth has forged a partnership with Kansas City’s other potent attackers. Kansas City playmaker Benny Feilhaber, who has already equalled his club best in goals scored and is on pace to set a new personal best for assists, is one player already feeling the positive effects of the striker.
The Hungarian has been his most deadly on the left side of Sporting’s three man attack, scoring four of his six goals when starting there. Though last weekend, the No. 9 played through the middle, picking up a goal and an assist in Sporting’s 4-0 win over FC Dallas. It was the third time this year Sporting tallied a four goal game.
Nemeth’s experience and ability to play in a 4-3-3 was one of Vermes main reasons for adding the Hungarian’s signature.
“Krisztian is a player who has extensive experience playing in a 4-3-3,” Vermes stated last December. “He also fits well in the overall model of play for Sporting Kansas City and we look forward to his adaptation.”
Signed at 18 by then Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez, Nemeth experienced training sessions with world-class professionals as a teenager. Despite never donning Liverpool’s famous red kit, Nemeth learned from some of the best at the time, including Fernando Torres.
This season, Nemeth has accounted for 29% of Sporting’s scoring with six goals in 11 games. The team had got off to a slightly slow start in March, but in their last six matches, Sporting are second in the Western Conference form table. Sporting’s last loss was on April 19 against LA Galaxy, a game that saw Nemeth score his second goal of the campaign.
Unfortunately for Kansas City, Nemeth’s excellent form hasn’t gone unnoticed by Hungarian national team coach Pal Dardai. The Hungarian hitman will miss Sporting’s next match against conference leaders Seattle Sounders. Barring injury, Nemeth should only miss one MLS game.
Sporting will cross their collective fingers that Nemeth can continue his current form into the second half of the MLS season. With international fixtures and the long, hot North American soccer season fast approaching, the Hungarian’s scoring will need to stay consistent for Sporting to bag the Supporters’ Shield.
Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @Calciofarmer. Drew Farmer is a Manchester, England-based journalist/blogger that has written for Forza Italian Football and World Soccer Talk. Originally from southwest Missouri, Drew covers Italy’s Serie A, English football and American soccer.
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