Lee Nguyen played a starring role for the New England Revolution on Saturday, scoring twice and adding an assist to help his team to a 4-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Gillette Stadium.
Eric Hassli gave the visitors the lead in just the fifth minute of play, but Nguyen took the game by the scruff of the neck to see New England overturn that deficit. He equalized a minute later before setting up Saer Sene in the 24th minute for the home side's second of the match.
Shalrie Joseph bagged his first goal of the MLS season before the close of the first half, but the pick of the lot was Nguyen's sensational strike 18 minutes from time to put the result beyond any doubt.
New England (4-6-0) has won two of its last three to improve to 12 points on the season while Vancouver (5-3-2) sees its three-winning streak come an end.
The Whitecaps almost went in front in the third minute when Sebastien Le Toux was played in with a brilliant flick through the middle, but the Frenchman was denied by a superb save from Matt Reis.
The writing was on the wall for the visitors though, as they took the lead moments later. Le Toux latched on to a through ball on the right side of the box and centered his pass to Hassli who smashed his effort through the legs of Reis for his second goal of the season.
It did not take New England long to get on level terms as Nguyen recorded his first career MLS goal one minute after Hassli's opener. The Revs worked the ensuing kickoff up the pitch and Nguyen capped the move by slamming a loose ball into the back of the net.
Nguyen turned provider later in the first half to give New England the lead, advancing the ball up the middle before slipping a through ball into the box. Sene used his big frame to gain position and shake a defender off before slipping a shot past Joe Cannon at the far post.
New England made it three before halftime when a failed Vancouver clearance fell to the feet of Joseph. The Revolution captain lashed a shot just inside the post to cap an impressive opening period.
Nguyen put an exclamation point at the end of the resounding win in the 72nd minute by volleying a thunderous strike from distance that sailed into the upper corner.
The 25-year-old's performance was made all the sweeter by the fact that it came against the Whitecaps - Nguyen was previously on Vancouver's books but was waived before the start of the season.
Vancouver has conceded 11 goals this season, but 10 of them have come in three games - in addition to Saturday's loss to the Revs, the Whitecaps fell to the San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City by scores of 3-1. The club will try to get back on track and regain some defensive form on May 19 when it welcomes Seattle Sounders FC to BC Place.
New England returns to action on May 19 at Gillette Stadium against the Houston Dynamo.