After starring as sub, Kljestan reacts to USMNT “re-debut”

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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.

[ MORE: Match recap | Player ratings ]

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?