Recalled to the U.S. national team after a breakout 2014 season with the New England Revolution,
Nguyen played 73 minutes in three appearances in 2015 after an unimpressive January camp.
But Jurgen Klinsmann says this January has been different, and Nguyen was rewarded with his first start ever for the national team in the 3-2 win over Iceland.
Nguyen didn't score, but he played well enough, linking up in the U.S. attack, that Klinsmann left him in the game for the entire 90 minutes.
"Lee came in a little bit different than last year," Klinsmann said. "He was really prepared for this camp. From Day 1 on, he set the tone. He says, 'OK, I was here last year and I didn't make the impression I wanted to make, so I better it right now. He was unquestionable in the starting lineup after a week already for us. Look at Lee. After three weeks of training and hard work, definitely one of the winners of this period."