Whitecaps waive Nguyen


It's MLS roster compliance day, and there has already been one surprising development ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline.

The Vancouver Whitecaps waived one-time U.S. international Lee Nguyen, a player acquired through the league's weighted lottery process less than three months ago after returning to the United States following career stops in Europe and Vietnam.

As a result of winning the lottery for Nguyen's services, the Whitecaps are prohibited from taking part in any other player lotteries for the rest of the season. The lottery system, which has been used to allocate players such as Luis Gil and David Bingham in recent years, is typically reserved for late-addition Generation adidas signings or SuperDraft-eligible players who did not sign with the league prior to the draft.

The Whitecaps were not over the 30-man roster limit heading into Thursday, nor would he have occupied an international roster slot, making the move a curious one, considering that Nguyen was thought to add a useful attacking dynamic to the Whitecaps midfield.

The Dallas-area native had recently been involved in a Twitter controversy over a homophobic slur used as a joke toward teammate Brad Knighton, but he issued an apology and had been issued a warning by the club, with no further discipline being required.  

Nguyen will be available in tomorrow's 3 p.m. MLS Waiver Draft, where he could find out his next destination. The other teams that showed interest in Nguyen during his lottery were Toronto FC, FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo.


What do you think of this development? Would you like to see your team claim Nguyen in the waiver draft?

Share your thoughts below.

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53 Responses to Whitecaps waive Nguyen

  1. Aquaman says:


  2. John says:

    talk about wasting his career by chasing fame in vietnam.

  3. jonk says:

    Seeing an awful lot of gleeful comments on Twitter that seem to suggest people think no team in MLS should/would pick him up because of the slur fiasco. Seriously, people? The man should be unable to find work because he made a mistake and then apologized moments later?

    Anyway, best of luck to him.

  4. Anthony says:

    Hmmmm who needs depth at CM?

  5. CSD says:

    I think the bigger waste was coming back to a league that decided to play a game of chance with the future of his career. What’s the point of Vancouver buying a lottery ticket if they don’t want to keep the winnings?

  6. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    I don’t think he was chasing fame, he was chasing $. He was paid more in Vietnam than the MLS offered by a bit, hence can’t hold it against him.
    He’s clearly skilled enough to play in the MLS, but you do have to wonder if he has the aptitude to do so…and which team would give him a shot to do it. Houston maybe? They could use some younger legs in the midfield. Colorado perhaps. Don’t really see him fitting in anywhere in the East other than maybe the Crew.

  7. Paddy Megroyn says:

    Shame, that guy just can’t Nguyen.

  8. Dimidri says:

    I didn’t see what he said and while using homophobic language, especially in such a premeditated way is obviously bad, it’s a bit over the top to cut a guy for that, seeing as other athletes commit crimes with minimal punishment…

  9. LAG says:

    … and now the LA Galaxy will sign him for less money.

  10. 99 says:


  11. Colin says:

    So silly. Even if Vancouver didn’t want to keep him, waiving him hurts the Whitecaps as much as it hurts Nguyen.

  12. fischy says:

    For that matter, who needs depth on the wing?

    Nguyen does not play centrally.

  13. fischy says:

    Any chance it’s a salary cap move?

  14. bryan says:

    wooooooow. will be interesting to see what happens with him.

  15. jonk says:

    I don’t think anyone actually thinks Vancouver cut him for it. For the record, Knighton tweeted something (don’t remember what, picture maybe?) and Nguyen tweeted back “F_g_ot!”

  16. fischy says:

    Just want to point out my prescience:

    Tweeted at 12:19

    @SoccerByIves — I’d be surprised if there are (plural) deals. Maybe Vancouver might try to unload their excess at striker to bolster side.

    12:19 PM – 1 Mar 12 via web ร‚ยท Details

  17. fischy says:

    If any team goes for him, I’d bet it’s Houston.

  18. dave says:

    Houston would be a great team for him, what with the large Vietnamese population in Southeast Texas. Montreal could use some help at forward, too.

  19. Pepe says:

    Rumor has it that he wasn’t putting much effort into playing for Vancouver because he wanted to play in Houston. Look for the Dynamo to sign him in the next couple of weeks.

  20. Freddie F. says:

    My fellow Nguyen brother, I hope he lands somewhere else in MLS soon.

  21. Alex says:

    He grew up and played club/hs in Dallas so maybe that would be good for him? I played against him at 18 years old (with current MLS players on my team) and Nguyen was 300% then any person on the field.

  22. nam says:

    I think the Whitecaps just managed to troll themselves; why in the world would you take part in a lottery for a guy you aren’t sold on? Now they’re out if luck if they want someone else coming back.

  23. Alex says:

    I blame Lebron!

  24. Lanky says:

    He hasnt stood out among the many wing and CM options that Vancouver has. Nanchoff is better than Lee and he hardly got to play last year when the team had less talent.

  25. Dinho says:

    was 300% faster…? was 300% lazier…? was 300% greedier…?

    That missing word leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

    (I’m just being a d*ck, I know you meant “better”)

  26. Supsam says:

    Since he was waived, does that mean he is a free agent? Or does a team have to “compensate” Vancouver for his rights? Hope the quakes pick him up. We have a large asian american population in the bay area. My dad told me the other day that his vietnamese radio news station was informing us when Lee Nguyen would be coming to san jose to play the quakes so he would draw some people (like my dad who isnt an MLS fan btw)

  27. WashedUp says:

    i sense another Lin story here….uh, on second thought he sucks. back to V-league for him, or maybe usl/nasl

  28. blasie213 says:

    Maybe the league has gotten better since the time he was a national team product another life ago!

  29. Landredas says:

    I think the fact that they waved him rather then trade him, says a lot about his perceived value around the league. Not a single one of the teams that put their name in the hat for the lottery for him were willing to trade for him? Ouch!

    As a Caps fan I wasn’t as surprised as others. While he’s a decent option, the Caps have a surplus of good skilled offensive talent, and have two players who offer the exact same thing at his position in Russell Teibert (HG player, younger, fan favorite, fills Canadian quota) and Davide Chiumiento (way more skilled, history with team). Without knowing the salary cap numbers it’s hard to know for sure, but with his compensation rumored to be in the 80k range, he makes for a pretty expensive 4th, 5th or 6th winger (depending on where people slot in) on a team.

    His twitter comment while perhaps not a deciding factor, certainly made the decision easier for the Caps.

  30. He probably just wasn’t cutting it.

  31. tom traubert says:

    I did biz in VN and he was a god there, all over the tabloids and always with serious arm candy. FCD passed on him a few years ago after a trial of sorts, so I’m suspecting there are multiple issues at play here. Given his status in VN, ego could possibly be one of them. Plus MLS (for better or worse) is a physical league and I think he’d struggle dealing with it (see Adu, Freddy). Correct about Houston, but having a player that appeals to a certain fan segment on the bench doesn’t get you much. That said the guy can play in sauna conditions for sure.

  32. Soccer Rules says:

    I guess he should go back to Vietnam and be a hero there again. In the land of the blind, the one-eye man is king.
    Apparently, he is not good enough to play in MLS. But who knows? Maybe he had an attitude problem or an injury.

  33. Andy says:

    That’s rough…

  34. Felix says:

    The slur is unfortunate, but I don’t think he was cut for it. If he was killing in training, they’d keep him around.

    He must really be that bad.

  35. Supsam says:

    nevermind, there is a waiver draft tomorrow

  36. Mike says:

    I lived in Hanoi from January, 2010 to June, 2011. Saw him play. Kid looked good. Has skills for sure. And the league surprisingly has its share of skilled foreign players. Not as physical as the MLS. He was a big star there, but was also pursued by haters:
    link to thisisamericansoccer.com
    Would love to see him picked up tomorrow. Good luck, Lee!

  37. matt says:

    Agreed. Since I heard he was coming back to MLS I wondered if he may be Freddy 2.0 (technically gifted but pushed around too easily.)

  38. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    He’s the perfect fit for Chivas USA’s fan base. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  39. Kishan Jeter says:

    As a Houston Dynamo fan I think Houston should look into acquiring him. He’s fast, assertive, and could definitely help in the midfield. Plus, Houston needs more depth, especially with Ching talking about retiring next year.

  40. Chuck says:

    Dude comparing him with LIn is racist


  41. dhines says:

    we should hang him, god knows none of us have ever said such an evil thing.

    God bless PC America.

  42. solles says:

    nothing like taking hyperbole to ludicrous extremes.

  43. rico says:

    Vancouver made a series of curious offseason moves and ended up w/ a glut /mishmash of offensive players. Was a matter of time before they started dumping. Rather than speculate about what’s wrong w/ Nguyen, I think perhaps a better question might be: What’s wrong w/ Vancouver & wtf were they thinking? Jus sayin’.

  44. Yaznasty says:

    They already have Ampai haha

  45. b says:

    Yeah better criticize Vancouver now before the season starts and they start winning loads of games and pushing for a playoff spot.

  46. Alex says:

    Stephen Colbert approves of your comment…

  47. The Imperative Voice says:

    The Vancouver press seem to agree with your version of the story, that Nanchoff simply outplayed him. Nanchoff was a handful for Houston when I watched their Orlando tourney game. Nguyen I barely noticed. That Nanchoff might also save them money is just gravy.

    People on here seem to think it’s Houston but we tend to be picky — cut all our trialists — and play a rough and tumble longball 442, which I’m not sure how Nguyen fits into. Maybe as a change of pace from all the “bangers” in CM? But he is from Texas. Who knows, see how it turns out.

  48. The Imperative Voice says:

    Yesterday was roster compliance day so (a) Vancouver may have been forced to move and (b) with all the players being cut it’s probably not the day to go for a trade. Everyone would probably be content to wait you out and see whether they can get him or even someone better off waivers.

  49. The Imperative Voice says:

    The Adu similarity I see is a small guy with limited physical tools who is pretty good but not incredible technically. Nguyen stood out at lower age groups like Adu but when you get to the men’s level I think you really need either a motor or some sort of important attribute, speed, height, incredible touch, etc. Nguyen just strikes me as a small, merely competent player.

    He may be better off just back in VN. They will pay him and lionize him for just being himself, where if he stays here I think there’s pressure to perform and develop and re-achieve NT status, and I’m not convinced that’s in his cards.

  50. The Imperative Voice says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised either way but he does not strike me as a Kinnear-type. He’s more a connect the dots Torres/McCarty-type one/two touch player without as much skill. My memory was of us running Koke, who was that type of “soft” player too, out of town within two months.

    But he would offer a change of pace from what would otherwise be a very “hard man” central midfield of Moffat, Camargo, and Sturgis. I think Houston needs a real playmaker, and Nguyen could in a pinch come in and offer more finesse, though I don’t think he’s the level of quality needed.

  51. The Imperative Voice says:

    A glut of attackers is not a bad thing. I see no foolishness in bringing in a bunch of dudes and keeping the best and cheapest. I think it boiled down to Nguyen not standing out, being outplayed by others, earning more than the players outplaying him, and being expendable because he lacked the tenure to have a guaranteed deal.

    I see an improved VW offense my question would be whether they patched up the problematic defense to be competitive. They were both offensively and defensively shocking and I’m not sure you make the playoffs allowing 50+ goals even if you score more like 45 instead of last year’s 35. But incrementally better.

  52. Would be funny if he lands in LA. He would be a role player and could really thrive. Good depth esp for Champions League and various Cups.