Nguyen gets back at former team

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Nguyen gets back at former team

FOXBORO -- When midfielder Lee Nguyen was cut by the Vancouver Whitecaps in March and then signed with the New England Revolution, he circled May 12 on the schedule.

That would be when his former club came to Gillette Stadium to have the Revs.

Nguyen felt slighted about being cut, even his current coach, Jay Heaps, said as much following Saturday night's match. And what better way to show your former team up than by scoring two goals and adding an assist en route to a 4-1 Revolution win.

"Lee has been a great locker room guy for us," said Heaps after the win. "And on the field, he's doing a lot of things.

"This week, I just had a quiet little talk with him, and said, 'Hey look, this is a good moment for you, a good chance. You're going to play against your former team.' And as a former player that played against my former team, the Miami Fusion, a couple times, there is certainly something there when someone says that you're either expendable, or that they want to move on without you.

"It was never that the Vanouver Whitecaps didn't think he was a good player, because I know they did," added Heaps. "I just think that they said that they have a lot of guys that are similar, and they're going to move on."

Nguyen had a little something to show against his former team, and he began showing that in the sixth minute, when he tied the game at 1-1, just a minute after Vancouver took an early 1-0 lead.

"We worked all week on making sure we wanted to start well, and we didn't," said Heaps. "That's disappointing, but at the same time, I think that it woke us up a little bit.

"We kind of got sucker-punched there, but we liked the way we started the game, and we were up for it tonight," said Chris Tierney after the win. "You could kind of feel, throughout the team, even though the goal went in, heads didn't drop. Things happen, and we picked ourselves up and got right back in it."

But it was Nguyen's second goal of the game that will be on the highlight reel for years to come.

In the 72nd minute, Nguyen put the Revs up 4-1, as he buried a deep shot from the left wing, outside of the box. Nguyen took a throw-in, knocked it down once with his foot, let it bounce, booted it out of mid-air, and it ended up going top shelf.

"Lee can shoot," said Heaps. "And we work on that stuff in training. So you see Lee, once in a while, put a shot on."

"He played great," said Tierney. "We've known that he's been capable of that. I think he's been awesome all year long, and it's good to see it finally pay off with two goals."

Jurgen Klinsmann fired as coach of United States soccer team

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Jurgen Klinsmann fired as coach of United States soccer team

NEW YORK - Jurgen Klinsmann was fired as coach of the U.S. soccer team Monday, six days after a 4-0 loss at Costa Rica dropped the Americans to 0-2 in the final round of World Cup qualifying.

Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena is the favorite to succeed Klinsmann, and his hiring could be announced as early as Tuesday. Arena coached the national team from 1998 to 2006.

Qualifying resumes when the U.S. hosts Honduras on March 24 and plays four days later at Panama.

"While we remain confident that we have quality players to help us advance to Russia 2018, the form and growth of the team up to this point left us convinced that we need to go in a different direction," U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said in a statement. "With the next qualifying match in late March, we have several months to refocus the group and determine the best way forward to ensure a successful journey to qualify for our eighth consecutive World Cup."

A former German star forward who has lived mostly in Southern California since retiring as a player in 1998, Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley in July 2011 and led the team to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and the second round of the 2014 World Cup, where the Americans lost to Belgium in extra time.

The USSF announced in December 2013 a four-year contract extension through 2018, but the successful World Cup was followed by poor performances. The U.S. was knocked out by Jamaica in last year's Gold Cup semifinals and lost to Mexico in a playoff for a Confederations Cup berth. The team rebounded to reach this year's Copa America semifinals before losing to Argentina 4-0. But this month Mexico beat the Americans 2-1 at Columbus, Ohio, in the first home qualifying loss for the U.S. since 2001.

And last week, the Americans were routed in Costa Rica, their largest margin of defeat in qualifying since 1980. They dropped to 0-2 for the first time in the hexagonal, as the final round of World Cup qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean is known.

While there is time to recover, given the top three teams qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia and the fourth-place finisher advances to a playoff against Asia's No. 5 team, players seemed confused by Klinsmann's tactics, such as a 3-4-1-2 formation used at the start against the Mexicans.

"Today we made the difficult decision of parting ways with Jurgen Klinsmann," Gulati said. "There were considerable achievements along the way ... but there were also lesser publicized efforts behind the scenes. He challenged everyone in the U.S. Soccer community to think about things in new ways, and thanks to his efforts we have grown as an organization and expect there will be benefits from his work for years to come."

The U.S. had not changed coaches in the middle of qualifying since the USSF made the position a full-time job and hired Bob Gansler in 1989 to replace Lothar Osiander, who also at the time was a waiter at a San Francisco restaurant.

Klinsmann made controversial decisions, such as dropping Landon Donovan from the 2014 World Cup roster while taking along relatively inexperienced players such as John Brooks, Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin. Brooks and Green were among five German-Americans on the 23-man U.S. World Cup roster, which drew criticism from some in the American soccer community.

He coached the team to a 55-27-16 record, including a U.S.-record 12-game winning streak and victories in exhibitions at Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. He has worked in the past year to integrate more young players into the lineup, such as teen midfield sensation Christian Pulisic, Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris.

Arena, a 65-year-old wisecracking Brooklynite known for blunt talk, was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2010. He coached the University of Virginia from 1978-95, then coached D.C. United to titles in Major League Soccer's first two seasons before losing in the 1998 final. As U.S. coach, he led the Americans to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals in the team's best finish since 1930.

He was let go after the team's first-round elimination in 2006. Gulati unsuccessfully courted Klinsmann, who won the 1990 World Cup with West Germany and the 1996 European Championship with Germany, then coached his nation to the 2006 World Cup semifinals.

When Gulati and Klinsmann couldn't reach an agreement, the USSF hired Bradley, who coached the team to the second round of the 2010 World Cup. A year later, the Americans stumbled in the Gold Cup, and Klinsmann replaced Bradley.

Arena coached the New York Red Bulls of MLS from July 2006 to November 2007, then was hired the following August by the Galaxy. He led the team to MLS titles in 2011, '12 and '14.