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Kraft: Nguyen called up for upcoming USMNT friendlies

Lee Nguyen celebration by Stew Milne (USA TODAY)


It looks like Lee Nguyen’s standout performance for the New England Revolution has caught the attention of U.S. Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Nguyen has been called up to the USMNT for its upcoming friendlies in Europe, according to Revs owner Jonathan Kraft, who revealed the news Sunday on a local radio show.

Nguyen has certainly done his best to add his name to the USMNT conversation — his 18 goals this season are the most by any American in MLS and he appears to be a frontrunner for league MVP this year.

If the Revs advance past the Columbus Crew on Sunday, the first leg of the Eastern Conference final will be on Nov. 23. The USMNT faces Colombia on Friday at Craven Cottage in London and then Ireland on Nov. 18 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Nguyen has three caps with the senior USMNT, all in 2007 under former U.S. coach Bob Bradley.

The full roster for the upcoming USMNT friendlies is expected to be announced Monday.


What do you think of this call-up? Think Nguyen can make an impact with the national team?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Well deserved. We have very few players (maybe not any) with his kind of technical ability. Not to mention his goalscoring instincts from attacking midfield positions. Wish we could see him and Feilhaber together, just for the technical class that would be on display…

  2. Don’t see the point of callin up a guy who will be too
    Old for the next cycle. Yes he had a career year. But he’s not nat worthy. Call ups are supposed to be to build for the future…not reward players for being A star in MLS. Wando 2.0

    • Mr.R.
      Lee has earned the chance to prove he does not belong.

      Nguyen will be 32 during the 2018 World Cup.
      History tells us there were a lot of players on the other side of 30 who played well in the World Cup.

      Klinsmann was 33-34 when he played in his last World Cup and scored three goals. In 2010 when Diego Forlan had a great World Cup playing in a position similar to what Nguyen does he was 31. Jermaine Jones just had a pretty good WC for the US at a similar age.

      It is possible that Nguyen will not be playing as well by then but that is true for any player. Yedlin might be a bust and a miserable failure at Spurs and drop off the USMNT radar by then.

      There are no guarantees

      • Well, to beat a dead horse again, JK thought Donovan was too old at 32 for this WC. But it’s now obvious he was wrong. Also, don’t forget Pirlo who was magnificent at the last European Cup when he was, I think, 35. It depends on the player.

  3. I’m just glad that he won’t won’t be missed by New England while they are trying to come back from a 3-0 deficit in the second leg.

    I think that a call up for Jones should be in the works as well.

  4. Seeing Nguyen reminds me of a soccer 101 book that he put into video format. He plays it over and over and has refined himself as a result.

  5. This is much bigger than initial articles point out. No doubt this will get a big write up soon. here is a guy who was a young, amazing, raw talent – went to europe – did well developing with some highlight reel work, got injured – wandered into desert including crazy celebrety time in his home country – back to US on minimal contract and as an after thought – and then slowly built back his performances to the current great level – and all the while you know he was driving and willing himself about getting back to where he knew he should be. Now he has it just in reach and I hope he gets better and better and shows us all what originally at least I thought was a great talent. Good on him!

    • Lee Nguyen was born in Texas, simon, and grew up there. He did, indeed, return to his home country… not as a celebrity. But he’s on his way.

      • Turgid

        yeah – the way I wrote it was wrong – knew he was Texan and meant to where his family were from…was an interesting time for him. He did become a huge celebrity there when playing and thought he might have switched nationalities on it and was glad he stuck with his dream of playing more for US team. nice catch.

  6. this might be the #10 usa has been looking for. Nobody wants to be USAs #10 or #9, klins knows it and hes looking everywhere.

    • If the USA wants to play a system with a traditional #10 role Nguyen would be a good candidate, but to keep that system going you would need to look at 4 #10 types: two for the game day roster and two on short call up notice. I can see Diskerud, Zusi, Nguyen, and perhaps Corona in that pool to start with.

      • None of those four are a traditional #10. There isn’t really one in the US pool.

        They are all good players on their day but the traditional #10 is practically extinct in today’s game.

    • For a while it looked like Paco Torres might play a similar role, but after a few internationals his star dimmed considerably. Let’s see how well he does against real international competition before anointing him as the next savior.

      • we tried Paco as a #10 role??? I don’t remember that. I do recall many thinking he was a #10 however

        I recall Bradley tried him as a left DM in that flat 4 4 2 and he got overpowered at times back there, and Kinsi tried him on the left in various formations including tucked inside on the left in a 4 3 3 further up the field,

      • The difference is JFT did not play a #10 role or anything vaguely similar for his clubs unlike Lee. Paco is very skilled on the ball but does not really have offensive instincts.

  7. … well earned, BUT … how does his call up squares with JK’s previous comments regarding players development via the MLS route?

    • JK is correct that Europe is optimal for his beat players. JK is also correct to call in guys that don’t follow the optimal route but still prove their worth. That’s called pragmatism.

      There is nothing to “square”. It’s like saying the best engineers should go to MIT. It doesn’t mean they have to go to MIT.

    • Maybe you forgot that he bypassed MLS to play in Europe (Randers-Denmark) and also in the V-League of Vietnam (Handsomely paid) then came back to MLS

      • Wasn’t his first stop a Dutch club like PSV or Ajax? I seem to recall that. He only got in reserve games as I recall, but he was very young.

      • I’m pretty sure he played one year at Indiana in NCAA. Then went to PSV. Then he went and played in Vietnam for a few years.
        Congrats on the call up.

      • A lot of us have been keeping a close eye on Nguyen for a long time. Going all the way back to his Indiana days. He went from PSV to many other parts of the world. But we couldn’t be happier about his time at the Revs + this top season + call up from Jurgen.

    • How does it contradict anything JK has said or done? Be specific, please. Keep in mind you’re talking about someone who stopped the trend of fewer and fewer MLS players being named to World Cup rosters. Best not to ignore that.

  8. He absolutely can make an impact depending on who he’s surrounded with. If JK fields a strong team, Lee will fit right in and then some but if its a ‘B’ squad… who knows

  9. If there is one American player in the world that deserves a call-up based on club form, it is Nguyen. I am eager to see how he does.

  10. Nice!
    He seems to play best his best attacking game at the top of a trio of central midfielders. Imagine Nguyen-Bradley-Diskerud/Jones. This would be a better fit for Bradley too, imo.

    • Well he know Jones well enough though there is not a lot of direct interplay between them. I think he will mix well with Mix and Bradley just had an operation… he won’t be there. If JK sticks him on the outside… that won’t work…he’s not an outside player

      • yeah, too bad about Bradley. In this particular game, there hasn’t been a lot of interplay between the two as you say, but I have seen them play well together in other matches and find each other. I mean, they already have pretty decent chemistry for only a handful of games together – it can only grow.

      • I think we see a 4-3-3, with Bedoya on the left, Nguyen central, and Mix on the right at midfield.

        You basically want 3 center-type mids – or guys who can play CM – as your three mids in a 4-3-3, with a target guy up top and then some speed guys at left and right wing/outside forward. You also gotta get true wingbacks who can rampage up the flank or you don’t get enough width because your three mids will tend to tuck in.

        I agree Nguyen’s a pure 10. I like Mix some but I think Nguyen’s better, so push him out to the right in a 4-3-3 and maybe you’ve already got your starting three. Certainly I am not sold on Zusi as the long-term answer at right midfield; he’s OK, but ideally I’d like a more dynamic, technical guy with the ball at his feet.

  11. Within seconds of me pulling up this article, Nguyen scored against Columbus. Well earned callup and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with the usmnt.


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