MLS Notes: Nguyen signs with league, Kennedy gets new Chivas deal and more


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Lee Nguyen's long journey is leading back home.

Nguyen, a Texas native, signed a multi-year deal with MLS on Tuesday, bringing a one-time U.S. attacking prospect to the league after six years overseas. Nguyen appeared three times in 2007 for the U.S. national team (pictured above), including twice at the Copa America, before falling off the international radar.

The attacking midfielder will be distributed to an MLS team through a weighted lottery system as opposed to the usual allocation order reserved for former U.S. internationals who come to the league. The teams included in that lottery and the date were not disclosed yet.

Nguyen was a standout in the Dallas area for the famed Dallas Texans youth club and went on to star at Indiana University for one year before trying his luck abroad. He landed at PSV in the Netherlands but struggled for playing time before moving to Randers FC in Denmark. He found the most success in his parents' native country Vietnam, where he achieved celebrity status while playing for Hoàng Anh Gia Lai and most recently Becamex Binh Duong FC.

Here are a couple of more items from around MLS:


Dan Kennedy emerged as one of the top goalkeepers in MLS last season, and Chivas USA ensured that he'll remain between the posts for the club for the foreseeable future by locking him up to a multi-year deal.

"Dan was our MVP this year, there was never a doubt that we wanted him back," general manager Jose Domene said in a team statement.


Coach Dom Kinnear credited the introduction of Luiz Camargo to the starting lineup as one of the turning points of the Houston Dynamo's 2011 season. As it turns out, the Brazilian will be staying for the long haul.

The Dynamo exercised their option to purchase Camargo's rights from Brazilian side Clube Parana. His presence in the center of the field allowed Geoff Cameron to shift back to centerback on a permanent basis, and with him in the fold again the Dynamo will have the central midfield partnership of Camargo and Adam Moffat together for a full season. 


Hoping to see your team land Nguyen? Where do you rank Kennedy among MLS goalkeepers? Think the Dynamo are better off with Camargo in the lineup?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Chivas USA, MLS- Houston Dynamo. Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to MLS Notes: Nguyen signs with league, Kennedy gets new Chivas deal and more

  1. SounderBruce says:

    Our midfield is already crowded…we’ll pass on Nguyen. (We already took Ochoa last year…)

    Glad Chivas is being smart and sticking with a talented keeper…hope their defense can match his level.

    Dyanmo being smart…trying to hold onto that Conference Championship for next year…

  2. malkin says:

    Why the weighted lottery instead of the allocation?

  3. abc says:

    He never played a single game with the US national team while in Vietnam, right?

  4. rick says:

    Would love to See em in chicago. They need some serious help!!

  5. fischy says:

    Yes, but he does have 3 caps. They don’t go away.

  6. fischy says:

    I know DC has two good wingers with Pontius and Najar, but I’d still like to see them finally take a shot at a lottery this year. Who knows how long Najar will be in MLS? Nguyen would give the team some insurance and the flexibility to play Pontius up top if they’re so inclined. Nguyen’s a talented player, and should be a real attacking force at the MLS level. I’m guessing he’s getting a little over $200k – cheap for a guy who did actually play for PSV when that team was the class of the Dutch League.

    Plus, it wouldn’t hurt to sell some tickets in DC’s Vietnamese-American community.

  7. steveo says:

    I remember watching that China game-Nguyen, Kamani Hill and Charlie Davies all debuted from what I recall…all were with European clubs, their USMNT future looked bright… even throw in a Benny Feilhaber, who scored in that game…

    goes to show just how much young players are a crapshoot…

  8. Lorenzo says:

    Well, no one cane deny all those young players in that game were talented. Davies, Feilhaber, Kljestan, maybe even Guzan?. Hill showed in the u-23 qualifying he was decent, and Nguyen is a talented but little guy. Of course the young one who really made it from that game is…

  9. Pepe says:

    Word has it that Nguyen already has an agreement with the Dynamo, and that the “lottery” is just a formality.

  10. wilyboy says:

    Same. I’m actually thinking that Pontius needs to be thrown into the forward pool, putting less pressure on the club to find a legit striker.

  11. MensreaJim says:

    I have no idea what to expect from him. I would like to see him back in Dallas, but I would also think twice about using up a fair amount of salary cap on him.

  12. broadsthooligans says:

    Could it have anything to do with it being between seasons? Maybe it gives the player a little more control over where they might end up then the league would like, along with taking away any reason to tank to try to get a higher allocation rank for a player you might know is coming to MLS in the offseason. Not sure if that makes sense, or if theres a precedent of other US players coming back through the offseason that messes that whole theory up.

  13. broadsthooligans says:

    That sounds a bit sketchy…although if you suggested LA or NYRB instead of the Dynamo I might be a bit less surprised.

  14. Brian says:

    why would the galaxy try and get Nguyen?
    Who are we the Rapids? Or RSL?

    If Becks leaves Galaxy will get either Drogba or Lampard! Pfft Nyugen :)

  15. Steve McSteve says:

    No way MLS is paying him $200K

  16. Kejsare says:

    He at best earned $150,000 in Vietnam.

  17. Pepe says:

    Nope, he’s from Texas and knows Dom personally from a youth camp in San Jose. Apparently his agent made a comment to the Vietnamese press that he was leaving because he now had a chance to start on the wing for a Texas team.

  18. Pepe says:

    Also, Houston has the biggest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam, so they want to get a star who can cater to that demographic

  19. Pepe says:

    Yeah, he’s way too young and has way too much of a future to play for LA

  20. TommyOC says:

    That’s sooo wrong, Pepe.

    The largest Vietnamese Population outside of Vietnam resides in Orange County, CA. A majority of those are in Fountain Valley, CA (trays a city, BTW), with appreciable pockets scattered throughout the LA metropolitan area.

    The Info is readily available to verify my assertion.

  21. TommyOC says:

    If the Galaxy cant keep Juninho, expect them to take a hard look at Nguyen.

  22. Pepe says:

    Well, both of us were wrong, but not by much:

    link to

    Anyway, it’s still clear why the Dynamo are locking down Nguyen

  23. afc says:

    He was one of the highest if not the highest paid player in the Vietnamese league. $150K goes very very far in Vietnam. Nguyen would often post on twitter about how much stuff he could buy for $100.

  24. biersal says:

    Having just spent 6 weeks in Vietnam, I can say for certain the cost of living difference between Vietnam and America is huge. I would guess that making 150K there would be like making 500K in say Philadelphia.

  25. Matt says:

    cant wait till the salary cap is 10 million. just need a better tv deal in 2014. say 150 million a year?

  26. YELPRover says:

    in the coming days, we’ll probably find the irregularity is due to Garber/MLS bending rules so he can land in LA/NY.


  27. YELPRover says:

    Can anyone show me a lasting effect of signing a player and assigning him to a market based on his ethnicity? (note I said lasting, not billboard hype)

    That entire premise just seems like an archaic marketing ploy rendering the customers/fans ignorant.

    I think football fans are wise enough to respect talent, regardless of ethnicity.

  28. Ciaran, UK says:

    Don’t know much about the guy, and can’t find any consensus on what his best position is. Is he left-footed?

  29. Peterjh says:

    It would be classic if Montreal gets him.

  30. Kevbo says:

    I was really starting to like the guy when he unexpectedly “retired” and then moved overseas (not saying it’s the same thing–if my memory serves, he originally said he was done with soccer). He’s not the best player on the planet but there’s no denying he has talent. Hopefully it works out for him over here.

  31. Ivan says:

    There’s something fundamentally wrong w/ a player signing with “the league”. Single entity structure is awful and it is wrong. Players must be owned by the clubs, not by the league…

  32. JoeW says:

    Nguyen has had 6 years as a pro, he’s been scouted by the USNT staff and hasn’t had a whiff of a call up in that time. What that tells me is that the hot phenom so many were lusting over is probably just a nice role-player at this point. And those getting excited about why your particular teams should go for him…bah…if you win the lottery you end up at the back of the pack. After the SuperDraft there will always be a couple of guys who didn’t sign with MLS, it didn’t work out in Europe (bad offers, hurt during trial, whatever) and they come back to MLS. Count on at least 2 weighted lotteries in between the SuperDraft and the start of the MLS season. Are you really willing to argue that Nguyen is the best talent that’s going to be available via lottery this year?

    Houston makes sense. Texas kid, Kinnear is big on signing people he knows well and has repeatedly scouted (which is why the team has done so well within MLS talent trades and less so outside of MLS). I bet Dom has him penciled in as a backup midfielder. As for Chicago, they’ve got other priorities. And for DCU, the team needs a goalscorer and a central defender–Nguyen is neither. I could be wrong but I also don’t see any reason why NE would sign him.

  33. jbrader says:

    Who cares if the effect is short term? You fill seats. After that you can go for another player who can get butts in the stands. Teams use DPs the same way.

    But the marketing logic is fine. eg If I’m Ecuadorian, I’m going to show up for a local Ecuadorian on my local MLS team. When he’s gone maybe i don’t go, but I am more likely to support the team than I was before b/c of fan experience. And, actually, i’m 1000% more likely to pay to respect “the talent, regardless of ethnicity” than I was before.

  34. jbrader says:

    Yawn. MLS would have died long ago if they had done that.

  35. CorkSoccer says:

    Whatever happened to Kamani Hill?

  36. Matt says:

    Well, if it weren’t for Kasey Keller, Brian McBride, Carlos Bocanegra, or Clint Dempsey, my guess is Fulham would have about 0 US fans. They became my team b/c of the American influence, but by now, even if Clint leaves, they will still be my team since I’ve supported them for so long (and purchased their merchandise.) I think nationally/ethnicity can bring fans into the door, and then a loyal handful stay on, and voila, your team is now more popular in the long-term.

  37. Just sayin says:


    not electing to evolve as a league is as boring as your logic regarding ethnicity+interest retention.

    Ivan is right.

  38. hogatroge says:

    It’s pretty hilarious how people expect that LA can just take any player they want. There’s no way LA are weighted heavily enough in the lottery to get him before another team that wants to keep him snags him.

  39. hogatroge says:

    Ivan is wrong, for now. There is not enough money in MLS, though the league is getting there, to remove the salary cap and the allocation rules. The league is evolving, just at a slow and steady pace.

  40. CSD says:

    Piotr Nowak in Chicago worked out pretty well.

  41. GW says:


    It’s hardly an ineffective marketing ploy.

    Montreal is looking at Anelka who could really help them but also has the added benefit of being French.

    Besides, It’s rarely just about a player’s ethnicity. Usually, that is an added marketing benefit. If Nguyen plays 5 minutes the whole season no one, Vietnamese or otherwise, will come out to see him sit on the bench.

    In Nguyen’s case he is also a native son of Texas. McBride didn’t wind up back with the Fire and Keller back with the Sounders by accident.

    Don’t you think FC Dallas or the Dynamo would be very interested in Duece if he ever plays in MLS?

  42. Charles says:

    When you have Lamar Hunt money and his drive to help create 3 sports leagues to make life beyond great for sports fans like me…..then someone other than posters on a blog will care about your opinion.

    Good luck.

  43. fischy says:

    DC United. Raul Diaz Arce. They didn’t “assign” him to DC, but DC did sign him. And the Salvadoreans turned out in big numbers. Etcheverry and Moreno turned out the Bolivians, too. When United shipped him Arce to the Revs, the Salvadoreans stopped coming. Althuogh attendance did go back up eventually, I’d say the team’s attendance has isn’t what it could be in part because they lost the Salvadoreans.

  44. franco says:

    Funny how some are already penciling him down as a Dynamo player with words like “he’s from Texas and knows Dom personally from a youth camp in San Jose”.

    You do know Lee is from the Dallas area and knew Schellas Hyndman LONG before he ever met, knew or heard of Dom Kinnear right?

    Not saying there’s no chance he ends up in Houston but I think it’s just as likely he ends up in Dallas. Either to man the wing opposite Brek or take over from Brek if needed, if Brek makes the move to Europe before next season begins.

    My point again? It’s not a done dollar like some here have stated that he’ll be going to the Dynamo.

  45. PD says:

    yes but they were american players in england attracting an american audience to an english team. if this guy really gonna open up the vietnamese market because of the color of his skin? if that kind of thinking even “allowed” anymore?

    cynical cynical cynical.

  46. PD says:

    players should be owned by themselves. not anyone.

  47. hogatroge says:

    I agree. I’m a Dynamo guy myself, but I would think signs point to Dallas over Houston.

    That said, we could use him down here to build some freakin’ depth for the CCL. Houston has to have the shallowest roster in MLS.

  48. PD says:

    Nguyen is not from Vietnam and he is not a superstar. The whole “ethnic market appeal” works as additional rational for some international starts like Anelka but forts and foremost they are STARS. If Drogba ever plays do you think he’s going to go to the market with the highest African immigrant demograph? Why isn’t thierry Henry playing in Vancouver or Toronto, then? The fact that Anelka is french has relevance for an entire city and region that identifies itself with franco- culture and language, but what’s more relevant is that he is one of the great superstars of his generation.

    Plus, this whole line of thinking flies in the face of many DPs who are in markets where they have no ethnic appeal. To say Montreal is pursuing Anelka because he’s french or that anyone is pursuing Nguyen because he’s of Vietnamese heritage, s is not really something you can stand on.

    If and when Tim Howard comes back to MLS do you really think he’s going to appeal to the “bi-racials with Hungarian ethnicity” background? Come on.

  49. I’ve been hearing alot of this kid; definitely excited to watch him play in the MLS and see if he can claw his way into Klinsman’s favor.

  50. Gurl says:

    He was last seen trying to get a contract with a team in the swedish second division.

  51. Gbott says:

    YES..absolutly yes. The Vietnamese community here (I live just outside of Little Saigon in Orange County and have many friends with in the Viet community), it is a very tight knit community and not to sterotype because obviously not everyone feels the same, but they feverishly support their own, whether it be in Sport, Politics, film etc. Very proud Americans, but also proud of where their heritage.

  52. bryan says:

    i remember when he was on wolfsburg and in whatever year of FIFA was out at the time, he and Dzeko were main forwards. they were a great combo!

  53. bryan says:

    *were my main

  54. franco says:

    I tell you what, if Drogba played in New York or Houston or even DC, you’d see a crapload more African immigrants at the home matches involving whichever of those teams he’d sign with. Even if he goes to play with Sporting KC or Columbus, Drogba would draw more Africans to the stadiums his team would visit. Not Beckhamesque but still enough to make one take notice. Just my opinion.

  55. bryan says:

    no, if he had the option, he would choose Houston. new stadium and people actually show up to the games.

  56. danny says:

    This guy shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath as US NATS. This would be akin to talking about some star veteran USL player.

  57. GW says:

    You are way over-reacting. Or as they say where I’m from,you’re using a shotgun to kill a flea.

    The interest in Nguyen is primarily generated because he’s a mystery, an interesting story. And interesting stories are the lifeblood of good marketers. And please don’t tell me MLS doesn’t need all the media attention it can get.

    Very few people here have any idea how good or how bad a player he really is at this point. Plus he is fairly young so there is potential to get better. He could wind up in Dallas and ( who could lose both Shea and Feirrera in the near future) and develop into great replacement for one of them. Or he could be a complete bust.

    The best player in Vietnam/Vietnamese ethicity thing is just another hook to generate interest and from where I sit fairly harmless.

    I trust Kinnear or Hyndmann to know a good player when they see one. Should one of them get Nguyen, I trust they will know what they have and what to do with him. Or do you think they are idiots?

  58. Kejsare says:

    I made no bones about the cost of living, I was just stating his salary.

    I visited Ho Chi Minh 15 years ago. I’m well aware.

  59. die eurosnobs says:

    +1 zillion on the over-reacting and the rest of your post.

  60. SD says:

    I think he earned considerable more than that….the stories when he signed was that he went for the money….i remember a crazy number like $10k a week….I’m sure he was already making close to $150k at PSV or Randers….

  61. Paula says:

    Nguyen has been trying to find his way back to the US for years since being benched and then going to Vietnam. He recently tried to see about playing for the Vietnamese NT despite having played for the USMNT (when it seemed that he was never going to catch Bob Bradley’s notice).

    Good for him, I hope this works out.

  62. Dizzo says:

    Klinsy likes his attacking mids (see also Adu)

  63. Edwin in LA says:

    They’ll be fine, the money they got for Ricketts is going to be what helps. They might cut some of the reserves that make the 32-42K.

    I still don’t know why Kirovski is with this team. Arena needs to let go of his old 2002 era players. Hedjuk is okay as a back up but he’s making more than he’s worth for a back up that hardly plays in regualr season and in some CCL games.

  64. JoeW says:

    The only reason I said Houston was that I do think it fits Houston–it’s the kind of move that Kinnear would make (choosing someone he knows is a fit than looking for the best available player). I think Dallas could be just as reasonable of an option. I don’t know if Hyndman is interested or not.

  65. PetedeLA says:

    Watch him set the league on fire!

    I’ve only seen glimpses of this guy, but I know he’s a dribbler, and they usually do pretty well in MLS.

    He’ll probably have to hit the weight room, though.

  66. Eli says:

    Nguyen showed real talent when playing for the USMNT.Unfortunately Bradley dropped him after the Copa America results(Bradley’s fault not Nguyen’s).Still Nguyen would be great to have back on the national team as a great attacking option.Remember, he’s very good with the ball and he learned his stuff at PSV.

  67. Hector says:

    It doesnt have to be one or the other. Both at the same time makes great business sense.

  68. Hector says:

    agreed, Kirovski should have been gone 2 years ago. Cristman blows also.

  69. VinceN says:

    he’s coming into the league for the minimum bro…i guarantee it…about 50k a year until he proves himself…money was probably why he didn’t come back sooner, but now he has no choice because he is not going to develop his game playing the collegiate level in VN

  70. VinceN says:

    ur trippin…there are more Viet ppl in San Jose and OC…Houston doesn’t even compare to the Cali populations…Houston is where the broke Viets go…

  71. VinceN says:

    what Tommy means if you incorporate the LA and OC areas…because every couple miles is a different town…so Viet ppl just consider it OC…nobody says i rep Garden Grove or Santa Ana…it’s just OC… but yea…San Jo has the most gooks fa sho

  72. VinceN says:

    i don’t know which games you were watching…but Nguyen was clearly overmatched in the Copa America games…that’s probably why he never got another opportunity

  73. Eli says:

    That’s because he was playing with a bunch of youngsters.Put him in the mix with a full strength squad and you’ll see how he could contribute.Nguyen put in more effort than alot of those guys during that cup.Watch it back and you’ll know what I’m talkin about.