Sacha Kljestan on USMNT: Why He is Needed

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Sacha Kljestan has had an absolutely fantastic year so far for the New York Red Bulls.  The central attacking midfielder has been the foundation of the New York’s offensive success this season.  Don’t believe me, just have a look here   Five times this year he has put the ball in the back of the for the Red Bulls and is currently the MLS leader in assists with 12. Kljestan currently sits 3 assists shy of breaking the single season assist record for the Red Bulls, currently held by Thierry Henry.  Despite all this success, Kljestan remains out of the USMNT   Several supporters have questioned Jurgen Klinsmann’s choice on this matter as the 2016 MLS All-Star can assist the USMNT in areas they struggled mightily in this summer’s Copa America.

Sacha Kljestan on USMNT: Why He is Needed

Set Pieces

As Alexi Lalas never ceases to point out, ability to convert on set pieces is a dangerous weapon to have.  The USMNT struggled tremendously with this aspect. Past Clint Dempsey putting some beautiful strikes on goal, it seemed all anyone else could do was kick it into the wall.  The U.S struggled on corners as well, it seemed we lack the simple ability to judge how much power should go into a corner.  Sacha Kljestan has proven many times this year he has the ability to create success of set pieces. Kljestan leads the league in goals created off of corners and free kicks racking up 14 goals from these chances.

Poise and Control

Another disturbing trend that has been recurrent with the U.S has been the inability to slow the down the game and make the smart choice.  The midfield of the USMNT tends  struggle with taking that extra half second to make the smart play.  Whether it be Michael Bradley, Alejandro Bedoya, or any others who play in the middle of the park, too often it seems the play is out of control.  While the U.S can get away with it against weaker sides, they showed real trouble in being able to take control of a match against the likes of Colombia and Argentina. Sacha Kljestan has the ability to keep calmness in the midfield, as well as the ability to make that quick decisive pass that can keep a vital attack going.

Experience

Sacha Kljestan has the experience that this team so desperately needs.  Right now, he stands as one of very few Americans who have UEFA Champions League experience.  Kljestan has played with and against many of the top players in the world while playing in Europe.  Even now he is on pace to have a record smashing season with the New York Red Bulls.  A player with this ability and confidence should be at the top of the list for Jurgen Klinsmann right now.