Being comfortably situated in second-place in the JV Eastern Conference (where only two of the 10 teams are above .500) has masked many issues on the Revolution (6-5-6) so far in the 2015 regular season. Near the top of that list has to be the mysteriously poor play of their star midfielder Lee Nguyen. You’ll recall that Nguyen was the runner-up for MLS MVP last season after he exploded for a career-best 18 goals and five assists while helping to lead New England to the 2014 MLS Cup against Los Angeles.
He had the assist on Charlie Davies’ pretty goal in Sunday’s frustrating 2-1 loss at D.C. United (9-5-4) but it was only his third assist of the season and he has just one goal on this entire campaign.
“It’s obviously not what we wanted,” said Nguyen after the loss. “It’s just one of those games where we’ve got to close them out and we didn’t. You let a team like D.C. hang around long enough, they’re going to find holes and that’s what happened.”
It was the start of what, potentially, could be a big week both for the Revs and Nguyen. They go to Columbus (4-6-5) on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., CSNNE) then host Vancouver (9-6-2) on Saturday (7:30, CSNNE), and additionally the 23-man roster for the Gold Cup (which includes a match at Gillette Stadium vs. Haiti on July 10) will be announced. Nguyen was named to the preliminary roster and he’s received many call-ups to the U.S. men’s national team since his breakout season last year with New England.
Nguyen has played in 15 matches (starting in 14 of them) and he leads the Revs in shots on goal (35), so it’s hard to explain why six guys on the Revolution have scored more goals than him this year. In fact, his lone strike came on a converted penalty kick way back on April 4 at Colorado (a 2-0 win by New England). He’s 28-years-old, but this is only his fourth season in MLS meaning that it should be the prime of his career. There are still four months left before the playoffs begin, so there's plenty of time for Nguyen to figure it out. With him at his best, New England could finally end its Cup drought; however, if he continues to disappear like this, they will have a hard time getting there, let alone winning it.