Opportunistic as always, Nemanja Nikolic delivered once again for the Hungarian National Team in Tuesday's international friendly against a 2018 FIFA World Cup-bound Costa Rican side.
The prolific Fire striker and 2017 MLS Golden Boot winner scored for the second time in as many games, following up his set piece goal vs. Luxembourg last Thursday with another goal from a restart Tuesday in Budapest. Nikolic's intuitive redirection of a free kick at the top of the penalty area froze Costa Rican GK Lionel Moreira in the 37th minute, a tally that stood up as the game's only goal.
The game was played before a crowd of 9,680 at Groupama Arena in the first-ever meeting between Hungary and Costa Rica.
.@ChicagoFire striker Nemanja Nikolić scored with an instinctive redirect of a free kick to give #Hungary a 1-0 HT lead vs #CostaRica 🇨🇷 in their friendly. He's now scored in both their friendlies this window. #HUNCRC #cf97 #MLS pic.twitter.com/OhKkgDg2pe— Jason Foster (@JogaBonitoUSA) November 14, 2017
Nikolic played 81 minutes in the win, recording his 25th international cap with Hungary and his fifth international goal along the way.
Hungary recently fell short in its bid to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup and welcomed in a new manager, George Leekens, on Oct. 30, just prior to the current FIFA international window.
Nikolic led MLS with 24 goals in 2017 and was the only Fire player to play and start in all 34 league matches. He is among five finalists for the Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player and is one of three finalists for the MLS Newcomer of the Year. The Newcomer of the Year will be announced on Nov. 20 and MVP on Dec. 4.
"I am very proud of my teammates," Nikolic told media after the match, "that we could stand together and show that we can fight for the fans and each other."
Nikolics: Nagyon büszke vagyok a csapattársaimra, hogy együtt fel tudtunk állni, és megmutattuk: tudunk harcolni a szurkolókért és egymásért pic.twitter.com/lXINR4oFKs— MLSZ (@MLSZhivatalos) November 14, 2017