In a quick turn of events, the Philadelphia Union welcomed new signing Dániel Gazdag on Friday, got him into training on Saturday and into the game Sunday night with a 23-minute debut.
It was mostly a quiet debut for the Hungary international but a remarkable one considering the turn around time.
Union head coach Jim Curtin said one of the first things he asked Gazdag when he got off the plane on Friday was whether he thought he’d be up to playing 15-20 minutes against DC United in two days.
“He said ‘of course, I’m here to play and help so why not,’” Curtin said after Sunday’s 1-0 win in D.C. “It’s the kind of mentality a coach wants to hear... He contributed in a good way. Obviously, in games at home where we have more of the ball, and you can go from the start and have a better feel for the game I think we’ll utilize him in a much better way but overall, a big help still.”
Curtin didn’t have much time to get Gazdag fully acquainted with his new team or get him on the same page as teammates he’d only trained with once, but said there’s already trust in the player they acquired for a reported $1.8 million from Hungary club Honved.
“We saw some glimpses of what he can bring to the group and then we also saw maybe some of his teammates not being on the same page, which is natural,” Curtin said.
When the transfer was completed, there were questions whether he’d be able to get his visa in time to play at all prior to the international break and the start of his time with the Hungary national team, which kicks off European Championship group play on June 15.
“I think it shows his commitment to the team to the badge to the fans his teammates in the locker room,” Curtin said of Gazdag’s willingness to report to training and make his debut in such a tight window.
It’s not clear when Gazdag will rejoin the Hungary team and whether he’ll be available for selection at home against the Portland Timbers on Saturday. Whether his next game is Saturday or after he returns from national team duty (Hungary plays Portugal June 15, France June 19 and Germany June 23) he’ll be a big part of the Union’s plans heading into the summer.