By Chris Reiko
For 28 year-old Sacha Kljestan, this was probably the last opportunity of his lifetime to play in the world’s biggest soccer tournament. One of the most successful U.S. players in Europe, and one of only two American participants in last year’s edition of the UEFA Champions League, Sacha Kljestan is not going to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann is scheduled to announce his official training camp roster, a preliminary list of 30 players, tomorrow, but we learned from reliable sources that one player has already been told that he will not receive a call up.
In his most recent test in a USMNT jersey against Ukraine in Cyprus, he, like many other U.S. national team members, did not have a good game. A poor match against Ukraine wasn’t the only reason why Jurgen Klinsmann scratched the former Chivas USA player.
Sacha Kljestan had an outstanding 2013 fall season in Anderlecht and was playing very well, until an injury in early 2014 cost him his spot in the starting eleven.
Anderlecht is the biggest club in Belgium, and has been a well known brand in Europe for over a century, but is also a big business. Promoting young players is the obvious agenda for all clubs in Belgium, and Anderlecht is no different. Sacha Kljestan lost his spot to Youri Tielemans, who on May 7 turned just 17. Dutch and Belgian clubs are well known for promoting their youngsters earlier, to later sell them to bigger leagues in England, Germany, Spain or France.
The timing of the shift in Anderlecht’s starting eleven by Kosovo-native manager Besnik Hasi was the worst possible outcome for Sacha Kljestan, who likely missed his chance to play in the World Cup as a result. Kljestan was a starter under previous coach John van den Brom, but when Hasi took over, he was sent on the bench.
Is no secret that Sacha Kljestan was already mentioned in several discussions as possible candidate to return to MLS. He’s from Huntington Beach, California, and the Los Angeles Galaxy has been already mentioned in several reports as his next club. Kljestan has contract with Anderlecht until 2016, but apparently club gives him OK to leave, and interested clubs wont have to pay transfer fee. Sacha’s family resides in LA area, his brother Gordon Kljestan, already works for the Galaxy as Manager of Amateur Soccer, and his way to Bruce Arena team seem to be shorter than to any other MLS clubs.
Injuries or some unexpected situations would change the fortune of Sacha, and Jurgen Klinsmann may call on him in the last moment if needed, but for now Sacha Kljestan is out of the USMNT roster for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman looks like the biggest beneficiary of Kljestan’s absence, but he also definitely deserved the call. Apparently in Jurgen Klinsmann eyes there is no room for both (in U.S. standards) star midfielders.
Did Sacha Kljestan deserve the chance to be among the 30 players called? – I welcome your comments and opinions below
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