Revolution’s Lee Nguyen, Jermaine Jones called up to US team
No American in Major League Soccer this year was better at finding the back of the net than the Revolution's Lee Nguyen. Now his talents will be on display at the international level.
The US Soccer Federation and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced Monday that Nguyen would make his long-awaited return to the US men's national team, joining Revolution teammate Jermaine Jones as two of the 25 players called to camp for the final friendlies of 2014.
"Obviously, we watched him throughout the whole year and he was very consistent," Klinsmann said. "He was hungry for goals. He got himself in the right spot at the right time, but he was also very aggressive against the ball, not only when he had the ball.
"We're looking forward to having him in our group for the first time."
The US will play two friendlies in five days in England and Ireland beginning Friday when it meets Colombia at Craven Cottage (home to Fulham Football Club) in London. Colombia is ranked third in the world by FIFA.
Four days later, the US will play Ireland at Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Nguyen, 28, of McKinney, Texas, is an MVP candidate in his third season in MLS. After scoring a total of nine goals in his first two seasons in New England, he was first among American players and fourth overall with 18 during the 2014 regular season.
Nguyen added a goal in each of New England's first two playoff games as the Revolution earned their first Eastern Conference championship series berth since 2007. Nguyen is the first Revolution player to have 20 goals in a season since Taylor Twellman scored 23 in 2007.
If Nguyen plays in either friendly, it would mark his first appearance with the US team in more than seven years. He had three caps in 2007, appearing as a sub in a 4-1 friendly win over China before making two appearances during the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela.
Nguyen was a member of the US U-23, U-20, and U-18 teams.
Jones, who joined the Revolution in August, has shored up what was a porous and depleted midfield. The Revolution are 10-1-1 since signing Jones, including 7-0-0 when he has a goal or an assist.
Jones has 47 caps with the national team, and provided one of the more memorable American moments from this year's World Cup — a curling strike against Portugal.
A midfielder during the national team's run to the Round of 16 in Brazil, Jones is listed as a defender for the upcoming friendlies. He made his debut at center back during a 1-1 draw with Honduras Oct. 14.
Eight other MLS players made the final cut: goalkeepers Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago), and Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake); defenders DaMarcus Beasley (Houston), Matt Besler (Kansas City), and DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle), midfielder Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake); and forward Chris Wondolowski (San Jose).
Sounders striker and national team captain Clint Dempsey was not named to the roster.
Playoff schedule set
The Revolution will make their first Eastern Conference finals appearance in seven years when they take on the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Sunday, Nov. 23. The second leg of the two-game, aggregate-goal series will be at Gillette Stadium Nov. 29 at 3 p.m.
The Red Bulls have gotten the better of New England in 2014, winning both regular-season matchups. The Revolution were shut out, 2-0, on June 8 before losing, 2-1, at Red Bull Arena on Aug. 2.
The Revolution advanced to the conference finals following 4-2 and 3-1 victories over Columbus in the conference semifinals. Their seven goals set an MLS record for a two-leg, aggregate-goal series. The previous record was five.
After defeating 2013 MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City in the knockout round, New York split its semifinal series with the East's top seed, D.C. United, advancing on a 3-2 goal aggregate.
When the playoffs resume, the Red Bulls will be without starting left back Roy Miller, who received a red card late in the second game against United, meaning he is suspended for the next match.
Tickets for the Nov. 29 contest can be purchased on the Revolution website and at Ticketmaster.
Andrew MacDougall can be reached at aj.macdougall.com.