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Kljestan in, Brooks out of USMNT camp ahead of World Cup Qualifiers


Photo by Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports

Sacha Kljestan has long been left out of the U.S. Men’s National Team picture, but the New York Red Bulls playmaker is now set to make his return to camp ahead of World Cup Qualifiers.

U.S. Soccer announced on Monday that Kljestan has been called up to the USMNT ahead of  matches at St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday and against Trinidad & Tobago on Sept. 6. Additionally, defender John Brooks will not join the team in camp after suffering from back issues.

To date, Kljestan has earned 46 caps and scored four goals for the USMNT, but has not appeared for Jurgen Klinsmann’s side since March 2014. On the club level, the veteran midfielder leads MLS with 15 assists in 26 matches with the Red Bulls this season.

Following the addition of Kljestan, here’s a look at the current USMNT roster:

GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough), Ethan Horvath (Molde FC), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)

DEFENDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)

MIDFIELDERS: Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls) Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDs: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV)

What do you think of the addition of Kljestan? Expect him to feature in either game? Who will fill in at centerback in Brooks’ absence?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. What I expect we’ll see Friday night
    Wood Altidore
    Bedoya Zusi
    Johnson Besler Cameron Yedlin
    It will likely end up a 2-1-5-2 as Yedlin and Johnson will be able to push forward for most of the night.

    Subs: Pulisic:Zusi, Rubin or Morris:Altidore, and Nagbe:Bedoya

  2. Glad Omar G got the call. I am in minority of one maybe, but it is tough being the smartest.

    In spite of past struggles, which were real, I do think he is the answer.

    • But what is the question? He’s right footed so for Gonzo to play he would have to move out Cameron, which I suppose is possible before Russia, but its also just as probable that CCV passes both of them in the next two years. It also seems unlikely that Cameron would make a permanent move to DM since both Bradley and Jones are positioned to take that role once Nagbe, Hyndman, or Gooch are ready.

  3. this SV&G game is far from your typical match. they all fly in from their clubs, to miami, to jacksonville for training. later this week they board a plane to the Bahamas where they transfer to a series of tiny planes that fly to the island (short bumpy runway can’t land a normal sized plane). Then the play a team comparable to a NPSL/USL level of play on a muddy cricket field likely during a tropical storm.

    ya, leave Brooks in Germany! Bradley and Jones can stay in the USA. bring 18 vets that can get the job done. I like this call.

    midfield should be Nagbe and Bedoya in front of Beckerman, Sasha is the first guy off the bench.

  4. I thought I read that Bradley was suspended for the St. V and G match, so maybe JK is thinking to start Kljestan in that one. I don’t think JK calls him in late if he didn’t plan to play him.

    • Hard to think SK starts ahead of Nagbe – I really like Kljestan since he got back in MLS, but he is not Darlington Nagbe – especially since Klinsmann seems to be establishing and respecting the “pecking order” more on his teams. He seems committed to that 4-3-3 and by now, honestly, he should be.

      Especially against St. Vincent you gotta think it’s Morris, Altidore, and Wood across the top, Bedoya, Nagbe, and Zusi across the midfield, and Johnson, Besler, Cameron, and Yedlin in the back.

      He could experiment because, well, it’s St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but this is a result that matters and he can’t afford to mess around with our qualification still not certain. I think he observes the pecking order and just pushes them out based on established pecking order and availability.

      I think he subs in Rubin late to cap-tie him, gets Pulisic a lengthy run-out – he could well start ahead of Morris, actually – and we may get a late look at somebody like Arriola or Stanko – again, for capping purposes.

      I doubt we see Kljestan this call-up, in either match. He’s injury cover, that’s pretty much it, I suspect.

      • I agree with the forwards/wingers and defense, but I think Beckerman slots in front of the D..with bedoya and maybe Nagbe to the side.

      • Everybody here seems to love Nagbe and there is no doubt that he looks good with his speed and dribbling skills. However, I liken him to Dembele of Belgium/Tottenham.When you look at important measurables–goals and assists, he does not have that much to show for himself. Kljestan doesn’t always look like the smoothest player, but he gets the job done as his assist total shows. While Kljestan does have BWP scoring like crazy to help him, Nagbe has Adi and Valeri, so that’s not the issue.The main issue is that in the past Kljestan has been found wanting in the past in international play. Is he ready for prime time now? I think he is more likely to make that good through pass that leads to a goal than Nagbe and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a lot of PT at least in the first game.

      • Not sure Morris or Pulisic will see the pitch in an away qualifier unless things go terribly right or terribly wrong. I’m having memories of the last cycle when the USMNT needed some heroics from Fast Eddie Johnson in the midst of a tropical storm to see them through. It was no gimme at all.

      • I guess I am wondering why you think Bedoya/Nagbe/Zusi are in the MF3 if you assume (rightly I think) that Klinsi is going with pecking order. I would imagine Bradley and Jones are in there (at least for the first 45). Unless there is some injury I am not aware of. Also, I hope that for a game like this, LB will not be Johnson… I dream he will be a MF position and LB will go to Oroszco (Acosta if he jumps the pecking order).

    • You will see a pretty strong team for StV — ie, Kljestan off the bench at best — because it’s a road game and with the right combination of results we clinch Hex next game — us 3 pts from StV and TnT beat Guate at home.

      If we still need a win from TnT after that, you will see the A team again. If we have clinched I could see some roster churn, use of younger players and Kljestan.

      Kljestan is there for depth, I think he is being rewarded for a productive season and he’s a known quantity to risk in qualifying. But since he has been in the wilderness I expect JK has no illusions.

  5. Agreed. When he left MLS I thought he was good soccer player, but nothing great. He really developed in Belgium and stuck it out even through tough times. I think I learned to appreciate him when I saw how the Anderlecht supporters appreciating him. Ever since coming back he looks like a solid AM in a league that doesn’t have many Americans playing that roll at a high level (Feilhaber, Nagbe, Dempsey). Good for him.

  6. Back issues, huh? Either that or perhaps after hearing incessant whining from Hertha call-up US soccer finally decided to throw them a bone.

  7. Kljestan had to come a long way for me to be a fan of his, but his vision and passing is remarkable. He’ll need a total destroyer to protect him, because he’s weak in the tackle and not particularly fast. And unlike Nagbe or Benny F., he’s not really a threat to shoot. But at the same time, he seems never to make that boneheaded MB pass to no one.


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