Dániel Gazdag wasn’t written down as one of the possible penalty kick takers ahead of Wednesday night’s Philadelphia Union game against Toronto FC, but after Sergio Santos was taken down in the box he got his chance to do just that in the 32nd minute.
“I have to say thank you for Sergio (Santos) and Kacper Przybylko because (I wasn’t) written on the paper to take the kick so they let me take it,” Gazdag said.
After scoring 13 goals in Hungary for Budapest Honvéd FC this past season, it was only a matter of time before Gazdag would connect on a goal and while it was a spot kick he had arguably his best performance in his seventh start and ninth overall appearance for the boys in blue. He set up the first goal to Jakob Glesnes off the corner kick and finished second only to Sergio Santos (8.36) with a Whoscored rating of 8.15 on the night.
“The first one is the hardest one so it’s important to me to score today and I hope another goal will follow this one,” Gazdag said.
Gazdag’s steady improvement as he has settled in with the team is especially important now with Jamiro Monteiro in talks to leave the club and the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League semifinal in Mexico City looming.
“I thought Daniel was excellent tonight,” head coach Jim Curtin said. “And look, I thought he was excellent against Chicago too; on a different night three of those chances that he has if they go in he’s a hero in that game as well.”
The contrast between Gazdag and Toronto veteran Michael Bradley was noticeable throughout.
“We gave him the task of getting around Michael Bradley and making it difficult on him,” Curtin said. “I thought he really took that information well and really made it a hard night for their their key player in the middle part of the field.”