American-Vietnamese star Lee Nguyen has already had a big impact in Vietnam after scoring a hat-trick in his first official match for Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL).
The new striker, who has played for the US national team and is the highest-paid player in the nation of Vietnam, scored a hat-trick in his debut for the club in the cup win over Saigon United.
The 22-year-old Texan began his European career with PSV Eindhoven after a stellar freshman year at Indiana University. However, Nguyen struggled to find regular first team action with PSV and was sent to Danish side Randers F.C. before being sold to Hoang Anh Gia Lai.
Nguyen got his first cap for the United States in 2007, but has yet to find a regular role with Bob Bradley's team.
Speaking to Vietnamese daily,Thanh Nien, HAGL Technical Director Nguyen Van Vinh said, “It’s still too soon to conclude Nguyen will have a big influence like the Thai striker Kiatisuk at the club a few years ago.
"However, the Vietnamese American midfielder promises to bring interesting winds of change to the V-League this year with superb performances in his two matches, including a practice match.”
Saigon United coach Van Sy Hung also paid tribute, saying, “Nguyen was the most important player in HAGL’s win over our team.”