Lee Nguyen’s future finally is clear — and it’s in Los Angeles.
After months of confusion over why the New England Revolution playmaker was not included on gameday rosters and speculation he likely would be traded, a deal was made just before midnight CT Wednesday, the close of Major League Soccer’s primary transfer window.
The Revolution traded Nguyen, 31, to LAFC in exchange for $700,000 in allocation money — an even split of General and Targeted Allocation Money — according to a statement released by the club. There is potential for that amount to reach $950,000, based on the deal’s conditions, and for New England to receive LAFC’s natural first-round pick in the 2019 or 2020 MLS SuperDraft.
“On behalf of the club, I’d like to thank Lee for his years of service,” Revolution general manager Michael Burns said in the 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.”
Hours after @LAFC announced that F Marcos Urena could be out a month, the team swung a trade for New England Revolution Lee Nguyen. LAFC will give the Revolution $700,000 in allocation money. The deal occurred before the close of the Primary Transfer Window at 11:59 p.m. CT.
— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) May 2, 2018
For LAFC, a productive attacking midfielder such as Nguyen will help supplement an attack that just lost forward Marcos Ureña for at least a month due to injury. Less than three hours before the Nguyen trade was announced, LAFC released a statement saying Ureña will “undergo surgery on Friday to repair facial fractures” and he will be re-evaluated in four weeks. The Costa Rican international’s injury occurred Sunday after a collision in the first half of LAFC’s inaugural match at Banc of California stadium, a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders, according to the club.
Ureña started all seven games this season for LAFC (5-2-0, 15 points) and leads MLS with five assists.
Nguyen joined the Revolution in 2012 and spent six seasons working his way into the club’s history. He leaves as New England’s second all-time leader in goals, assists and shots. He’s also one of only two Revs with at least 40 goals and 40 assists. He also leads the club in penalty kick goals (16). And he was named team MVP and was a finalist for league MVP in 2014, when he scored 20 goals and helped the Revolution to the MLS Cup playoffs.
But this season, things changed.
New England (4-2-2, 14 points) brought in new head coach Brad Friedel, Nguyen requested an offseason trade, according to MLSSoccer.com, then missed the first three weeks of preseason camp and didn’t even appear on the bench once the regular season began. His reported $500,000 salary, according to the MLS Players Union, wasting away did not sit well with fans, who called for an answer or a resolution.
Now they have one.