Philadelphia Union’s Dániel Gazdag is finally finding his rhythm in Major League Soccer.
Eighteen months ago, the Hungarian was fighting in a relegation battle with Budapest Honvéd before making the move to the United States. Now, he’s looking to book a spot in the MLS Cup by taking on New York City FC in the Eastern Conference Final.
“It’s not a typical move from Hungary,” Gazdag told MLSsoccer.com.
“It was a bit surprising for some people when I came here, but as soon as the club reached out, I felt they really wanted me. Jim Curtin called me, the sporting director called me. How they talked to me, they really wanted me to be part of the Union. That’s why I came here.”
After finding it difficult to adjust in 2021, Gazdag has flourished this season under head coach Jim Curtin. He became the team’s top scorer and second in the Golden Boot race with 22 goals and 10 assists, standing as a key component of the Union’s success as they look to lift their first-ever MLS Cup title.
“I mean, last year I arrived during the season. That’s not the most optimal,” Gazdag said. “I also came right after my season in Europe ended, so I couldn’t rest any. That wasn’t the best. I just needed time to get used to the team and my teammates needed time to get used to me.”
But now, Curtin insists the player goes “above and beyond.”
“He’s been above and beyond anything we could have hoped for. Dániel does so much work defensively for us that a lot of players can’t match. His goals and assists are incredible – the way he links our back four to our forwards is great – but I love the defensive work he does,” Curtin said
“He’s a great player to work with and he’s about as humble as a player I’ve ever worked with. Especially a player who plays for his national team, who goes and beats Germany, but comes back to this team and treats everyone the same way and not think he’s better than anybody. Great person, great player. I hope he’s here for a long time.”
The team will now host NYCFC on Sunday for the Conference final at Subaru Park, as they look to advance and take on the winner of the LAFC vs. Austin FC match up in the West.