After losing their number one assist man Marco Ureña to facial surgery, LAFC moved quickly to shore up the absence by trading for New England Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen. Per Kevin Baxter of the LA Times, Los Angeles traded away $700K in Allocation Money for Nguyen.
A native of Texas the Vietnamese-American has played his entire MLS career with the Revolution. In six seasons and 191 games Nguyen has scored 51 goals.
82 – Since the start of 2014, Lee Nguyen has tallied 82 goals+assists in #MLS play, fifth most in the league. He is one of three players with 40+ goals and 40+ assists in that time. Westward. pic.twitter.com/fT5i0AnzqS
— OptaJack⚽ (@OptaJack) May 2, 2018
Nguyen was named the Gatorade High School player of the year in 2005. From there he moved on to a successful freshman year at the University of Indiana being name All-Conference and winning the conference freeman of the year award.
Nguyen quickly parlayed his college success into a professional opportunity signing with Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven. Though a member of the team when it won back-to-back league titles in 2007 and 2008, he only made two appearances with the senior team in three seasons.
Seeking more quality chances Nguyen’s professional career took him to pro leagues in Denmark and his parents homeland of Vietnam.
When Nguyen returned to the U.S. his original team was the Vancouver Whitecaps, but they waived him after three pre-season appearances. From there the Revolution picked up Nguyen in a waiver lottery.
Nguyen’s career took off in New England with his best season being 2014 when he scored 20 goals in 40 games for the team and led them to the MLS Cup Final where they would lose to the LA Galaxy. Nguyen was named to the MLS XI for that year.
In 2016 Nguyen was named captain of the Revolution and served in that capacity ever since.
Nguyen’s success with the Revolution hasn’t translated to success with the U.S. men’s national team. The 31-year-old has only made a few appearances with the senior team mostly in friendlies and none since 2015.
Having created a successful triumvirate up front with Ureña, Carlos Vela, and Diego Rossi, LAFC must now slot in Nguyen for Ureña.
Ureña hadn’t scored any goals thus far in the MLS season but he was the team’s assist leader with five in seven games.
With Nguyen being mostly a midfielder in his career, Bob Bradley may opt to play him and Vela in the wings with Rossi continuing to play upfront.
Having employed an 3-4-3 formation thus far this season LAFC coach Bob Bradley still has that option with ex-Revolution player on the team.
“I’m looking forward to working with Lee again,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “He’s a talented player that will fit in with the football we are building at LAFC.”
But it does give him an option to move Vela up front with Rossi as well. With Ureña’s recovery being tied to making a World Cup appearance with his native Costa Rica this June.
Lee Nguyen will have to hold down the fort for a while if Ureña makes it to the World Cup Finals.
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