photo by Bill Barrett/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – For Sacha Kljestan, a year has made a world of difference.
Last summer, Kljestan was battling the disappointment of not having made the U.S. men's national team roster for the World Cup. Now, he's helping the Americans in their pursuit of the Gold Cup while also reviving a national team career that, for many pundits, appeared to be on life support.
Kljestan's contributions this summer haven't been headline grabbing or eye popping, but what Kljestan has provided is some much-needed composure on the ball and energy as a second-half substitute, much to the approval of head coach Bob Bradley and his staff.
"Coaches have just told me come onto the game, try to keep possession of the ball and keep it moving at a good pace and be honest working offensively and defensively, so I've just tried to do that," said Kljestan. "My passing has been good, making some runs off the ball, just trying to bring energy to the game."
Kljestan's improved performances with the U.S. team come after a season with RSC Anderlecht that saw the club finish first in the league's table (though it later lost in the playoffs).
That season has done wonders for Kljestan. From having to work on his game to get into the Beglian club's starting lineup to playing in several key games, Kljestan has gained invaluable experience that is translating over to the international level.
"Personally, I feel very confident now having had a whole season at Anderlecht underneath my belt," said Kljestan. "Consistency has gotten a lot better. I feel I'm more consistent when I have the ball; more plays are coming off for myself.
Kljestan's improvements haven't only come on the offensive side. Defensively, Kljestan has provided relentless energy and tactical discipline during the Gold Cup.
"He understands the game extremely well," said Steve Cherundolo. "He is also somebody who is willing to do work on the defensive end and he's also got a nose for the goal. He can set up goals but also score the odd goal and I'm sure he will help us throughout the rest of the tournament."
For the Americans, the rest of the tournament begins with a quarterfinal date against undefeated Jamaica. Kljestan is unlikely to start, but he is likely to see the field should the Americans need a creative spark off the bench or some fresh legs to do the dirty work on the defensive end.
"I'm 90 minutes fit, (so) for 15 minutes I can run hard," said Kljestan.
That's what he has done well at so far, and what's allowed him to become a regular contributor to the U.S. team again.
+1…The Bradley Bunch…Thats good stuff!
I like Torres, he seldom loses possession and he can pass well, but he has trouble fitting into a team. At Pachuca, he is a part-time starter and does not often play 90 minutes when he does start. Gomez is a different story, he is a average goal scorer at best. When he was in the MLS for several seasons at various clubs and scored about 5 goals per 30 games, the same as for Pachuca. The only season he did better was 10 goals in 15 games for Puebla in 2010, the reason he got Bradley’s attention for the W.C. where he appeared 4 times and scored no goals. He has scored 2 goals in 8 appearances for the Nats, I’m not sure how that sets him up as some kind of must have player.
I think Sasha has always been good at reading the game and seeing things. His downfall was that he saw more than he could pull off. that led to him attempting plays he could not accomplish. I think 2 things happened, 1) he improved technically, 2) he stopped trying to turn every touch he got into part of a highlight reel and is playing more simply.
You can almost hear him admitting the same in his comments. If he continues along the same path and gets to the point where he can pull off one or two neat plays successfully as well, he will see more time for the Nats and will move to a bigger euro club.
Look, I understand being loyal to players, but some get loyalty from Bradley when they are passed their National level playing date(Beasley). Some young players before they should be at the national level. Yes, I bashed Bradley, It’s hard to defend him when I see him waering sweats on the sideline. Where is the respect for the game? Like I said, I want Sacha to do well, I’m just not drinking the cool-ade.
Sacha has promise, I’ll give him that.
Amazing what finding a little humility and scrappiness can do for a young man’s game and, in turn, confidence.
Davis has been nasty in MLS this year. Was leading the league in assists, may still be (Haven’t checked recently). I respect that man for the Houston Dynamo.
That said I strongly believe Torres has a future for this team.
I wouldn’t buy stock either not yet. However, I don’t get the sacha vs. torres on here. The comparison is mute. There are to many who play FIFA and don’t watch the games of these two players. They assume that torres is a pure attacking midfielder when that could’t be less true. Torres is a deep lying midfeilder with good defense qualities and at his best strong and creative passing abilities. Sacha is an attacking middy, who is maturing while spending time in europe. Not to mention Jose had a down year for his standards.
Could people please give Davis time to get back or close to what he once was?
Give Davis 1 more year.
Calm down Pep lol. He seems like he doesnt Sacha so just dont pay attention to him.
Sacha has done ok but nothing to write home about.