121814_isi_nguyenlee_mlsmj120714164 Michael Janosz/isiphotos.com
23 For January Camp

Lee Nguyen Is an Automatic Jan. Call-Up for Klinsmann

Hopefully Lee Nguyen won't have to wait seven years between U.S. national team call-ups when January camp rolls around. The New England playmaker is as close to a sure bet as anybody in MLS.
BY Brooke Tunstall Posted
December 18, 2014
2:03 PM
Editors note: A group of ASN staffers have compared notes, argued, arm-wrestled, and ultimately decided on a 23-man roster for the January U.S. national team camp. We will be unveiling our proposed squad in the coming weeks and crafting arguments for every name on our list.

LET'S BE BLUNT HERE. The case for Lee Nguyen’s inclusion in the U.S. national team’s January camp is incredibly straightforward.

If being an MLS Best XI player in his 20s, if scoring the most goals in a season by a midfielder in league history, and if helping your team to an MLS Cup final don’t warrant a look, the U.S. national team should just stop holding January camps.

The reality is Nguyen, who scored 18 goals and registered five assists in the regular season to go with two goals and three assists in the playoffs, is exactly the type of player for whom the January camps are designed.

Nguyen, who turned 28 in October, also showed just enough in a cameo against Colombia last month in London, coming off the bench and making things happen in the final third, to make you think he could have a consistent role for the national team. After all, it’s not like the U.S. has such a glut of attacking midfielders and playmakers that someone with Nguyen’s skillset and form would be surplus to needs if he showed he could play at the national team level.

And that’s the question with Nguyen. Will his skills translate? That’s what camp and the ensuing games are for. But in terms of having earned an inclusion in the January camp, this one’s as easy as it gets.

Our roster so far: Tesho Akindele, Robbie Rogers, Lee Nguyen

Brooke Tunstall is an American Soccer Now contributing editor and ASN 100 panelist. You can follow him on Twitter.

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