Lee Nguyen doesn't report for first day of New England Revolution preseason

Lee Nguyen - New England Revolution

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Lee Nguyen did not report for the New England Revolution’s first on-field session of preseason, and the club is taking a hardline approach to the situation.

“Lee didn’t report to preseason and he’s not honoring his contract,” general manager Mike Burns told MLSsoccer.com. “We’ll handle the matter internally, and we’ve already had discussions with MLS. It’ll be handled appropriately. We have zero tolerance for guys who don’t honor their contracts.”

The news comes after MLSsoccer.com reported earlier this month that Nguyen, who scored 11 goals and handed out 15 assists in 2017, requested a trade prior to New England hiring Brad Friedel in early November.

Speaking to MLSsoccer.com at the 2018 MLS adidas Player Combine in Orlando, Fla., Friedel firmly stated that the Revs would not trade their star attacker.

Asked further about the situation at Tuesday’s training session, Friedel did not elaborate.

“You’ll have to ask Lee,” Friedel said when asked where Nguyen was.

Nguyen is under contract with the Revs for the 2018 season, and then has two option years for 2019 and 2020. Nguyen also made a base salary of $500,000 in 2017, the seventh-highest total on the Revs, according to MLS Players’ Union records.

Through his six seasons with New England, Nguyen has 51 goals and 49 assists in 191 regular season games. He also was an MVP finalist in 2014, leading the Revs to an MLS Cup appearance against the LA Galaxy.

Nguyen’s holdout comes amidst a flurry of big-name trades throughout MLS, namely with star attacking players. 

Last week, Columbus Crew SC sent striker Ola Kamara to the LA Galaxy in return for a package including Gyasi Zardes, while the Chicago Fire shipped winger David Accam to the Philadelphia Union in return for $1.2 million in total allocation money. Earlier this offseason, the New York Red Bulls traded attacking midfielder Sacha Kljestan to Orlando City, while Sporting Kansas City shipped No. 10 Benny Feilhaber to expansion side LAFC.

The Revs didn’t comment on whether they’d trade away Nguyen, but Friedel made clear what his focus is for New England heading into the new campaign.

“The goal is to instill a work ethic and start relationships with all the players, and the goal ultimately is to win games,” Friedel said. “That’s what we’re here for in professional sports. If you don’t win games, players get moved on, coaches get moved on, and that’s the reality of the situation. We want to come in and bring an up-tempo feel to the place, and I think we’ve accomplished that on Day 1.”

UPDATE: It looks like the Revolution may not be budging any time soon in this standoff.