A lot of the headlines are going to the man who subbed into the game with him, but Sacha Kljestan was pretty darn electric himself on Friday.
The soon-to-be 31-year-old New York Red Bulls midfielder entered the game with Christian Pulisic. The pair linked up for two quick goals, and when all was said and done the Yanks won 6-0 to (more or less) qualify for the next round of World Cup qualifying.
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Kljestan was always an effective player, a star at Anderlecht who had annual work in European competition. But his Stateside star had fans clamoring for a return to the USMNT after he came back to MLS and pretty much made a home on the league’s assist leaderboard.
Now, after almost three years away from the national team, he’s returned with a bullet.
“I’ve been thinking about this during the week: that I almost had my first national-team career, and then I had a break for two and a half years, I got to reflect on a lot of things and look back, and now I’m more motivated and more driven and more determined. So it’s almost like a new chance for me, and I think I did pretty well.”
Kljestan will have a hard time getting a starting nod on Tuesday, with a space needed for Michael Bradley’s return from suspensions and the fact that the Starting XI was pretty darn good before he came into the match.
It’s difficult to believe Klinsmann would choose Kljestan over Alejandro Bedoya, but the midfielder helped change the complexion of the Americans’ attack, and was already selected as a sub ahead of Darlington Nagbe.
Would you start Sacha?