Lee Nguyen has wanted a trade away from the New England Revolution for quite some time, amd on Tuesday he got his wish, as Los Angeles Football Club acquired him in exchange for a minimum of $350,000 of Targeted Allocation Money and $350,000 in General Allocation Money. If certain conditions are met, the amount of money could rise to $950,000, and LAFC could hand over their first-round draft pick in 2019 or 2020.
Nguyen, 31, has had an eclectic career. The Texas native signed for PSV after playing collegiate soccer for Indiana. He played for Danish side Randers, then played for two teams in Vietnam, where he was a superstar. In 2012 he came home and joined MLS, and after being cut by Vancouver Whitecaps apparently due in part to using a gay slur in a tweet at a teammate, evidently in jest, he settled in with the Revolution, where he shined on the field. In 2014 he had a career year, being named finalist for MLS MVP that year while helping New England reach the MLS Cup final.
“On behalf of the club, I’d like to thank Lee for his years of service,” said Revolution General Manager Michael Burns in a team statement. “Every decision is made in the best interest of the club, and we feel this move helps strengthen our team now and puts us in the best position to succeed in years to come.”
Nguyen has not played this season, as he has been benched by new head coach Brad Friedel after demanding a trade in the offseason, reportedly the second time in two seasons he has asked to leave the team. It had appeared the Revs may sit on a playmaker for an unknown period, but LAFC’s price, which was quite steep, compelled New England to part with a player they had already moved on from.
For LAFC, they acquire a player who should slot in as a starter as soon as he is fit. Nguyen may be a bit past his best, but like Benny Feilhaber he should offer experience and skill for the espansion side. It will be interesting to see where he will play, but that’s something for Bob Bradley to determine.
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