Inter Miami midfielder Lee Nguyen continued his run of impressive gaming achievements with an 10-7 aggregate victory over LAFC’s Mark-Anthony Kaye in the Club’s first matchup in a series of FIFA 20 eFriendlies. It was more than just bragging rights at stake, with the two making a bet that the loser would have to wear the other’s jersey for a day.
The matchup was composed of a three-game series; the first match featured a battle for national pride with Nguyen in control of the United States and Kaye in control of Canada. Nguyen set the tone early, telling Kaye, “there’s no rivalry, this is going to be a sweep.”
Inter Miami’s man raced to an early 1-0 lead in the fourth minute thanks to a tidy finish from Jozy Altidore. A bad challenge and corresponding red card by Jonathan David in the 13th minute left Kaye’s Canada at a man disadvantage for the rest of the match. Nguyen capitalized on his advantage with two more quick goals: a 23rd minute tap-in by Jordan Morris after intricate build-up play and a 31st minute goal from Sebastian Lletget. A 45th minute error, however, saw Nguyen gift Kaye’s forward Lucas Cavallini a goal as a result of a careless goal kick. Nguyen responded in the fourth minute of first half stoppage time with a goal scored by Christian Pulisic after some chaotic defending by Kaye’s Canada.
Asked if he had any advice for Kaye in a difficult first match, Nguyen joked, “Yeah, he needs to keep 11 players on the field.”
The second half saw Nguyen further the divide between the two sides with a 60th minute goal by McKennie and a 77th minute header by Lletget, ending the first match with a 6-1 win for Nguyen and the United States.
The second match featured two of the world’s elite teams, with Nguyen choosing FC Barcelona and Kaye choosing Liverpool FC. Nguyen once again took a substantial first-half lead with a 23rd minute strike by Antoine Griezmann – after which he joked, “I closed my eyes and hit shoot” – and a volleyed goal in the 29th minute by Lionel Messi. Nguyen stretched his lead in the 61st minute with a goal from the edge of the box with Luis Suárez. Kaye made things interesting in the second half, pulling two goals back with a 65th minute goal by Roberto Firmino and an 83rd minute penalty after a red card tackle by Piqué in the box. Still, Nguyen held firm and escaped with a 3-2 victory of Kaye.
The third and final match saw a return to the international stage, this time Nguyen controlling China against Kaye’s choice of Belgium. This time Kaye took control of the match early on, securing an early lead with a 10th minute goal by Thorgan Hazard and following it up with a goal by Kevin De Bruyne in the 26th minute and another in the 34th minute by Eden Hazard. Kaye cemented his lead in the 51st minute goal by Dries Mertens. Nguyen pulled a goal back in the 65th minute thanks to a low curled shot by Wu Xi, but the match ended 4-1 in favor of Kaye’s Belgium.
Though Kaye claimed victory in the final of the three, Nguyen emerged victorious on the afternoon with two wins and an overall win by 10-7 aggregate score, meaning Kaye will be wearing Inter Miami colors and Nguyen across his back for a day.
“This brings back memories of being in the locker room with him with the banter, so it’s always good to catch up like this,” concluded Nguyen.
The matchup, which began at 5 p.m. ET and aired on the Club’s Twitch, YouTube and Facebook channels, as well as on the Club’s official app, pitted Nguyen against his former LAFC midfield partner Kaye. The event was hosted by Inter Miami’s own Kaylyn Kyle, a former midfielder for the Canadian national team and current TV reporter, and Max Bretos, LAFC’s lead broadcaster.
Nguyen previously participated in Inter Miami’s FIFA 20 tournament as part of Twitch’s Stream Aid 2020, virtual event that raised over $2.7 million for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. He also took part in the Twitch Rivals SuperGames ft. Fortnite for Charity in support of the Baptist Health Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, where he reached the Athlete Semifinals.