When nearly retired Landon Donovan buried a hat trick in the LA Galaxy’s 5-0 drubbing of Real Salt Lake en route to the Western Conference finals, New England Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen enjoyed a more quiet night, although he buried a score to show viewers why he deserves considerable MLS MVP consideration.
Another goal and another assist marked Nguyen’s excellent night, with the Revs beating the Columbus Crew 7-3 on aggregate to seal a spot in the Eastern Conference finals. The Revolution haven’t graced the final stop to the MLS Cup since 2007, when they ended up losing the MLS Cup to the Houston Dynamo.
At that time, Taylor Twellman served as New England’s the crucial offensive attacker, tallying 19 goals and three assists in all contests.
Now, one can see Twellman’s impact nearly parallel to that of Nguyen’s, the technically-gifted Texan who saw time overseas at PSV Eindhoven, Rangers and in the Vietnam’s V.League 1 before returning to Major League Soccer, where the Revolution acquired him via the MLS Waiver Draft.
And Nguyen’s abilities—his creativeness, vision and patience in the midfield—were no secret earlier in his career. The United States soccer federation recognized him seven years ago by calling him up for a friendly vs. China, in addition to his inclusion in the Copa America roster.
A bit raw but talented nonetheless, he was only 20 years of age then.
Today, USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann has called the 28-year-old Nguyen into national team camp, another notch to the footballer’s belt, and he comes into international training with a more advanced skill set.
After years of falling off the radar overseas, his return to America has allowed the midfielder’s adeptness on the ball to shine. Even when 19-year-old Diego Fagundez totaled a magnificent 13 goals last year, Nguyen’s importance to the Revs was plainly obvious; he displayed an marvelous feel for the pitch and brandished attributes that facilitated successful attacks throughout his career in the Northeast.
This year, however, statistics have legitimately attested to his capabilities. His 18 regular season goals stand above all other midfielders in the league and comfortably sit at fourth place behind the likes of Bradley Wright-Phillips, Dom Dwyer and Robbie Keane, all primarily known for their striking.
But Nguyen doesn’t just score. He’s the glue that coalesces the Revs’ midfield, and it’s very apparent that his passing decisions also help decide the outcome for his side. In his latest start, MLS Soccer’s Jesse Marsch and a playoff-eliminated Dwyer break down the intricacies of the MVP candidate on MLSsoccer.com.
Nguyen began to noticeably play this way in the second half of the season, stringing together great performance after great performance, especially when World Cup standout Jermaine Jones came into the fold in late August.
With Nguyen firing on all cylinders, his consistency hasn’t wavered in the slightest, and one may realize that there is no limit to what the Revs can do, as the MLS Cup beckons on the horizon.