FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – On the eve of the 2014 Volkswagen MLS MVP announcement, in the midst of preparing for the biggest game of year, New England Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen received another individual honor in being named to the league’s Best XI on Tuesday.
One of three MVP candidates along with LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane and Seattle Sounders forward Obafemi Martins, Nguyen became the first Revolution player to be named to the prestigious year-end team since Shalrie Joseph in 2009.
“I’m honored to be a part of that,” Nguyen said. “It’s a tremendous honor for me personally.”
In helping raise the Revolution back to prominence, Nguyen enjoyed a breakout year in his third season with New England.
His 18 goals were most by a pure midfielder in any MLS season and the most by an American this year, helping him earn MLS Player of the Week honors on three occasions as well as Etihad MLS Player of the Month for October.
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The most notable of Nguyen’s numbers this year may have been his league-best nine game-winning goals, of which six came over the Revolution’s final 11 matches of the regular season.
Throughout the season, he has credited much of his success to having built a strong working relationship with his teammates over three seasons, and on Tuesday he was quick to note that his accomplishments would not be possible without the team and their overall success.
“Credit to the team,” said Nguyen. “We’ve done so well. I think it helps individuals get noticed when your team is doing so well.”
Nguyen’s success has continued throughout the postseason, as he’s scored two goals and assisted on three over their four games against Columbus and New York.
His overall efforts even earned him a callup to the US national team in November for the first time in seven years.
Although the small matter of the MVP announcement is still at hand, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, Nguyen and the Revolution are looking to now cap their collective successes with the organization’s first MLS Cup title on Sunday, when they face off against the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center (3 pm ET; ESPN, UniMas, UDN in US | TSN1, RDS2 in Canada).
And after practicing in 35-degree temperatures on Tuesday, they are also looking to shed their hats and long pants along the way – no peek at the Southern California weather forecast required.
“I don’t need to,” Nguyen said of checking out the forecast. “I already know [Los Angeles] is going to be a lot warmer than this. Can’t wait. We’ll get a couple of days to get our legs under us and get ready for Sunday.”