ORLANDO, Fla. – When former US youth international star Lee Nguyen landed with the Vancouver Whitecaps in a weighted lottery last December, it seemed like the perfect match.
But maybe it was too perfect.
The Whitecaps waived Nguyen on Thursday in the most prominent cut made at the March 1 MLS roster compliance deadline.
“We’ve enjoyed working with Lee from the start of preseason,” said Vancouver manager Martin Rennie in a statement shared by the club. “He’s been very professional and good to work with. In the end, we feel like he’s similar to other players that we have in our squad and we had to make a decision based on that.”
In the Disney Pro Soccer Classic he started and played the entire first half in his club’s 1-0 win against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday but he did not appear in the 3-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.
Nguyen made news during the preseason when he used a homophobic slur during a Twitter exchange. But Rennie says the incident played no part in his departure.
“It’s purely a soccer decision,” Rennie replied when asked if twitter or off-field issues had anything to do with the transaction. “We think he can play games with another club and we don’t see him featuring for us. So we thought it would be best for him and for the club for him to move on.”
The 25-year-old will now be made available to all MLS clubs via the Waiver Draft that will be held later Friday at 3 pm ET.
FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC were the other five clubs that chose to participate in the weighted lottery when Nguyen was made available last December. It’s worth noting that Nguyen is a native of McKinney, Texas.