The New England Revolution would be very happy if the entire month of July just evaporated into thin air. At this point, I think the Revs could use a do-over. After kicking the month off with a convincing 2-0 win over New York, the Revs didn't win another game (and still haven't), finishing July with a 1-3-1 record. What little good there was in that month was almost entirely down to the dynamic play and prowess of one Lee Nguyen.
Lee started the month strong, scoring the first goal in the victory over New York. Then, in a 2-1 mid-month loss to Montreal, Lee scored one of the more spectacular goals in MLS this season, beating Donovan Ricketts from about 40 or so yards with a long, dipping drive that hit crossbar, keeper, and then paydirt. It was an unorthodox, fluky goal that was originally scored an own goal, but it nonetheless showcased Nguyen's skill and aggressiveness in the attack. In between, he's generally been the driving force for the Revs' offense, showcasing excellent dribbling and vision while becoming the focus of opponents' attempts to stall the New England midfield.
For me, Lee really stepped up in July. His talent has been plain to see for some time - the dribbling, the brace against Vancouver, the way the ball seems to stick to his feet even when he's in traffic - but he has recently emerged into the centerpiece of what should be a potent offense in this league. He's not shying away from the responsibility of shouldering the load, and often his creativity has been the lone bright spot in what was really a dismal run of games.
Matty: Although the goals haven't come as frequently as I'd like, it's almost impossible to overstate how important Nguyen has been to the attack. His dribbling skills are what really stand out to me, as it allows him to beat defenders and create space for himself in the box. While the team has struggled mightily as of late, Nguyen continues to play his role, and continues to bring something special to the Revolution attack.
Abram: I hate the All-Star Game, I really do, but the fact that Nguyen wasn't on even the inactive roster is criminal. He was clearly the best Revolution player for the month of July. It is not just a purely statistical thing either. He has shown leadership that has been needed, and as he has moved centrally his game has possibly become even more stellar.
Brendan: He's been player of the month and player of the year so far. In 3/5 games in July Nguyen was voted MOTM in our polls. He scored 50% of the Revs goals in July. Sometimes he seems like the only person resilient and poised enough to overcome bad refs, tough games, and heartbreaking losses. Perhaps the Revs should throw some of that new money at him to keep him here a long time, perhaps with an armband around his arm that says Captain?
Lee's Line: 5 appearances, 5 starts, 2 goals, 0 assists; 14 points in TBM PotM voting
Stephen McCarthy, 8 points: For a dude who had a truly rocky start and had to compare himself constantly to the USMNT-caliber Soares, McCarthy had a pretty big mountain to climb. But looking at him now, he's as steady as ever, in some cases even looking better than his CB counterpart. McCarthy is a perfect microcosm of what Jay Heaps has done to this squad--identified strengths and build upon them. Strong presence in the air, including on attacking cornerkicks and set pieces, and with the strength to match up to almost any opposing striker you throw at him, I think Stephen McCarthy is hands-down the player of the month. Think about it: we went from asking "why the hell isn't John Lozano playing?" to "Oh sh*t, McCarthy's down" or "this is gonna be a tough game if McCarthy can't go". (Corey)
Clyde Simms, 4 points: When Clyde Simms is missing from the Revs lineup, it is felt. He usurped Shalrie in July as Jay Heaps' first-choice defensive midfielder, and I didn't see too many people question the move. Anytime Simms is subbed out it seems that the team ends up conceding a late goal, so at some point, hopefully we'll be able to extrapolate that taking him out late makes our defense fall apart. (Abram)
The Player of the Month is compiled by all five members of The Bent Musket's staff. Each writer selects his top three Revolution players for the month, who are assigned point values - three points for the #1, two for the #2, and one for the #3. Then, points are totaled and the player who received the most points in the voting is named Player of the Month. Honorable mentions go to the next two players in the voting.