MLSsoccer.com reported last week that Nguyen asked New England for a trade shortly after the end of the regular season. The 31-year-old midfielder is one of the most productive attackers in MLS; he had 11 goals and 15 assists in 31 regular season appearances in 2017 and has 42 goals and 40 assists in 128 games since the start of the 2014 season. He's been with New England since 2012, with sources telling MLSsoccer.com last week that he's eager for a change of scenery after missing the playoffs the last two years in New England.
“Lee’s not being traded,” Friedel said at the 2018 adidas MLS Player Combine. “He’s going to be an important part of our team.”
Friedel was hired by New England in November following the September dismissal of longtime head coach Jay Heaps. The club haven’t been all that active since the former US national team goalkeeper took over, signing three players – Homegrown midfielder Isaac Angking, defender Gabriel Somi and midfielder Wilfried Zahibo – and trading veteran forward Kei Kamara to Vancouver so far this offseason.
Things have been a bit quiet in Foxborough, but that should change in the coming days, with Friedel expecting to finalize some signings “pretty soon.” He didn’t give specifics on positional needs or what types of players he’s hoping to bring in, but, with New England only currently having one Designated Player on the books, they do have room to make significant additions.
“Any player that we bring into the club, based on what we have before and what we currently have in certain positions, we want to bring in players that can compete to start straightaway or players that are better than the ones that were previously on the roster,” he said. “You want to create a competitive environment, a competitive atmosphere so everyone knows every single day that you have an opportunity to play. So whatever player we do bring in, we expect them to compete for places whatever salary number they’re on. We don’t want anybody that just makes up the numbers.”
New England also hold the eighth and ninth overall picks in Friday’s SuperDraft. The pair of first-rounders have fueled speculation that the Revs could trade up in the draft, but Friedel said the team are comfortable with Nos. 8 and 9.
“Never say never, but we’re comfortable at eight and nine,” he said. “We did a lot of our profiling, a lot of our work early, so we know the positions we’re looking for and we’re hopeful the ones that we want will be available when eight and nine come. We’re in a fairly solid position.”