Tag Archives: Sacha Kljestan

More Emigration? Kljestan Attracting Attention from Europe

…and not just Bundesliga 2 clubs either.  A widely circulated rumor has Anderlecht, Bayern Leverkusen, Celtic, FC Twente, Heerenveen, Monaco, Olympiakos, Schalke, Wolfsburg, and Zenit St. Petersburg after the 23 year-old rising star.  Fresh off being named to the MLS First XI team and garnering more and more attention from USMNT boss Bob Bradley, the most photogenic man in MLS seems to have been able to translate his finer international moments into serious opportunities to advance his career, not to mention the cause of his bank account.

But would a move right now really be the best thing for his game?  Kljestan has the opportunity for a serious pay raise if he makes a move, but his play is not at the level it needs to be to start for, say, Celtic.  To me, Kljestan is still a player defined by his frustrating inconsistency: he mixes flashes of brilliance so often with disappearing acts that he fails to catch the eye for more than one game at a time.  Furthermore, he makes great runs, but often seems to lack a top-notch ability to make decisions in the final third.

Given his flaws, Kljestan may either play on a reserve team, or go out for a loan spell and end up with a lower division team, possibly playing at a lower competitive level than he currently is in MLS.  If he were to stay in Los Angeles, Kljestan could hone his game for a year or two before making the leap to a side where he could make a more immediate impact.  Playing in the Eredivisie may be his best shot at playing right away.

It does, however, seem to be in Sacha’s best interest to strike while the iron is hot.  A move overseas would mean a bigger paycheck, as well as entrance into the European scouting crucible, where he will be most certainly be evaluated by more clubs than he can be right now, even if he is playing second-tier football.

Of course, staying in the States benefits the league greatly, but especially Chivas USA, who could very well be in for a big shakeup soon, even after a second-place finish in the Western Conference last season.  The more talent that stays in the United States, the better for the league.  Adding European money to the MLS coffers cannot balance out losing a young talent like Kljestan whose ability and potential can continue to raise the standard for a league that needs to continue to set the bar higher for itself.

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CONCACAF Champions League Recap 9/3

New England 0-Joe Public 4 (Joe Public win 6-1 on aggregate)

The Revs got humiliated in Foxboro at the hands of the Trinidad and Tobago club.  Devastated by injuries up front and fatigue at the back, New England but on a good display of the lack of depth that MLS clubs are restricted to due to the salary cap.  But that’s really no excuse when you consider Joe Public FC’s funding and newness; aside from injuries, the Revolution have to admit that they just played poorly.  Maybe an MLS team ought to look at Guyana International strker Gregory Richardson.  The 26 year-old scored an away hat trick to lead the way for the Lions.

Chivas USA 1-Tauro FC 1 (Tauro win 3-1 on aggregate)

Chivas’ effort should probably be celebrated as a little stronger than New England’s, but they had more ground to make up, and eventually missed opportunities caught up to them.  Roberto Nurse scored early for the Goats, and plenty of near misses, including a missed penalty by Sacha Kljestan.  In the 51st minute, Jonathan Bornstein’s second yellow signaled a drop to 10 men for Chivas, which would lead to a goal from Tauro’s Luis Moreno 12 minutes later, putting Tauro up 3-1 on aggregate- enough to advance.

US National Team Roster for Cuba and T&T Qualifiers

September 6 at Cuba
September 10 vs. Trinidad and Tobago in Chicago
October 11 vs. Cuba in Washington DC
October 15 at Trinidad and Tobago

GK: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton)

D: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Danny Califf (FC Midjtylland), Steven Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Marvell Wynne (FC Toronto)

M: DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Michael Bradley (Heerenveen), Ricardo Clark (Houston), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Eddie Lewis (Los Angeles)

F: Brian Ching (Houston), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Eddie Johnson (Cardiff City)

Bob Bradley is mostly sticking with the squad that gritted out a victory over Guatemala two weeks ago.  Jay DeMerit and Pablo Mastroeni are gone with Ricardo Clark and uncapped Olympian Michael Orozco taking their places.  Clark has looked shaky at times, but mostly solid for Houston, while Orozco was exposed by Robbie Rogers’ lack of zeal for defense in Beijing, mostly up to the challenge.

Howard looked great against Guatemala, and Guzan is a quality second option.  The Aston Villa ‘keeper looked good in the Olympics.

Bocanegra and Onyewu are good enough for the backline, but I’m not sold on any of the other defensive options.  Wynne combines great pace with poor crossing and a tendency to gamble too much.  Orozco and Pearce can be solid or spotty, Hejduk and Cherundolo are on the decline.  Hejduk has not been tested as much as you would expect in Columbus with teams attacking the revolving door of players on the left side instead.  When he has been tested, he has a tendency to gamble on going to the ground instead of staying on his feet and staying in front of his man.  Cherundolo has been up and down in National Team duty recently and Califf has impressed at Midjtylland.

The midfield remains the team’s greatest outfield strength.  Beasley sparked the victory over Guatemala, Kljestan is at times an outstanding link player in the middle, at times invisible.  Lewis and Bradley are solid, with Lewis providing valuable experience and a long-range scoring threat, and Edu is one of the nation’s top rising all-around talents (when he isn’t too fatigued from traveling around the world).  It does, however, seem strange that Bradley would dislodge Edu from Rangers so soon after his arrival in Glasgow.

The front line is where things get worrisome.  Donovan is good enough in one forward spot, but who is going to pair with him?  Ching is a poor man’s Brian McBride and probably not good enough as a target man for serious international competition.  Neither Johnson nor Dempsey are in form right now, as Johnson was so far down the list at Fulham that he got loaned to Cardiff City and Dempsey has been dropped from the Cottagers’ starting lineup and hasn’t seen time as a sub.  Edson Buddle and Kenny Cooper are both in good form right now, and would benefit from International experience at an early stage in the qualifying game, but neither seems to be on Bradley’s radar.

CONCACAF Champions League: MLS Sides Need Strong Home Showings in Second Legs

After a 2-1 Joe Public FC victory over New England and a 2-0 Chivas USA loss at the hands of Tauro FC, both MLS sides need to regroup with better home efforts in their second legs (both September 2) if MLS is going to have solid representation in the Group Stage of the competition.

Neither the Revs nor the Goats really have good excuses for their First Leg performances, outside of traveling and hostile environments, but if MLS is really going to be a top-flight league with world-class talent, they have to be able to knock of the top clubs from other CONCACAF nations.  The United States can dominate CONCACAF international play, and when most Central American countries’ domestic teams are made up of their international players, that can only speak to the weakness of MLS as a league.  Either teams aren’t preparing well enough, don’t have the depth to compete in multiple competitions (the salary cap puts a huge hindrance on the abilities of clubs to have enough players), or too much domestic American talent is leaving MLS, thus watering down the talent pool.

It must be said that Chivas USA is depleted as it is, with the recent departure of Brad Guzan and Sacha Kljestan’s mind possibly on a European move.  Still, Chivas is in a playoff position in MLS, and should be able to show that the parity-obsessed league still retains competitive bite when it travels outside US borders.