In September, Lee Nguyen fully embraced his role as the creator, playing a role in six of nine Revolution goals. Now more than ever before, the former MVP candidate looks like the model no. 10, with his vision, ball control, creativity and technical skill continually tormenting opposing back lines. But does he deserve Player of the Month honors? We think so. Here's why:
Player of the Month: Lee Nguyen
Score: 12 votes (out of a possible 12)
September Player Rating: 8.06
Nick: In perhaps his best performance of the season, Nguyen went nuts on Orlando City SC, earning three assists while creating three additional goal-scoring chances. He also added an assist against NYRB and Toronto and a goal against Philadelphia, meaning he played a role in six goals in the month of September. With the freedom to drift into space and wreak havoc in front of goal, Lee has answered his early-season critics with one heck of a late-season campaign.
Seth: If we're not giving Player of the Month to Nguyen for his fashion-forward haircut then we should be giving it to him for his solid on-field play. Nguyen dominated September by offering one goal and five(!) assists. In fact, the midfielder was only kept off the scoresheet once and that was during a busy three-game week. This is the Nguyen that the Revolution need as the playoffs loom.
Jake: This is the MVP candidate from last season whose form has finally returned to something that resembles last year's campaign. No, Lee isn't going to score as often but it's when he's setting up goals that almost makes him more dangerous now. As defenses have to account for his abilities in the middle of the field, it leaves space and gaps for his teammates to find shots on goal. I don't know if he's going to get a call up for the United States - Mexico game in two weeks but he would deserve it based on form alone right now.
Runner Up: Diego Fagundez
Score: 7 votes
September Player Rating: 7.5
Seth: Fagundez's August form continued into September as the 20-year-old scored in the month's first three games. Even when he wasn't scoring, Fagundez was dangerous with his movement and tenacious with his defending. He's certainly matured as a player as consistency is becoming less of an issue.
Jake: Clearly proving that August was not just a flash in the pan, the young winger continued to find the back of the net in September and has all but solidified his spot in the starting lineup for the stretch run. While we expect the offense from Diego, it's his defense that is perhaps more impressive. Last year, Fagundez was rightly criticized for not tracking back often and getting beat on his flank. This year, it's not just the effort that's there for Diego, he's putting in some really solid two-way performances like Teal Bunbury had last year. And it's not like he's had one or two good defensive games or moments—he's had a lot of them.
Nick: Without question, Fagundez found his peak form in September. After wrapping up his August campaign with a game-winner against the Union, the Uruguayan forward proceeded to score in the Revs' next three matches, doubling his season goal total in just two-and-a-half weeks of play. In his only start without a goal, Fagundez took 3 shots and deserved to beat Philadelphia 'keeper Andre Blake with a curling, far-post strike. Diego has arguably become the most valuable Revolution attacker not named Lee Nguyen.
Honorable Mention: Andrew Farrell
Score: 5 votes
September Player Rating: 7.88
Jake: Are acrobatic clearances a statistic? Does Opta track those? Because if they do, Farrell could have more than the rest of the league combined. He's so confident in that skill of his that while facing his own endline he set himself up for a bicycle clearance. Who does that? Oh, and he's been a lock down defender for basically the last three months, or so it seems. Probably won't get an MLS First XI spot at centerback but he should be in the conversation, at least in my opinion.
Nick: Farrell has earned a number of POTM shouts this year, yet I can't help but feel as though he deserves more recognition. He's so quick, so athletic and so fearless. He takes risks but rarely takes a wrong step. And he serves as the unquestioned rock of this back line, despite never wearing the captain's armband. Like Nguyen, his best performance came against Orlando City, when he continually threw himself in front of shots, intercepted key passes and walloped clearances up field. He didn't look shabby against the Union, either. Another memorable month for Farrell.
Seth: Any other month, Farrell would be an easy choice for POTM. Farrell has become a rock in the back, constantly making big-time tackles and throwing his body in front of the ball. The 23-year-old has become one of the best center backs in the league. Unfortunately for him, the Revs attack was on fire this month. As a result, Farrell finishes third.