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Sebastian Lletget reasserts USMNT standing with MOTM performance against Jamaica

When Sebastian Lletget received the call-up for the March friendlies, the big question was whether he would be able to maintain his place in the U.S. Men’s National Team depth chart given all the promising young talent in the pipeline.

Lletget made it clear on Thursday that he isn’t going anywhere just yet, delivering a Man of the Match performance with a pair of late goals in Thursday’s 4-1 win against Jamaica.

Lletget saved his best moments for last in a 4-1 victory over Jamaica, scoring a pair of goals in the final seven minutes of the match. It was a strong outing for the L.A. Galaxy playmaker, who was the oldest player to feature in the match for the Americans.

With Jamaica knocking on the door late at Weiner Neustadt Stadion, Lletget delivered the settling blow in the dying stages. Both of his finishes came inside of Jamaica’s 18-yard box, showing once again Lletget’s clinical ability in the final third.

“I got a lot of questions this week about Sebastian Lletget and what do I see in Sebastian Lletget,” Berhalter said post match. “And I think his performance spoke for itself tonight, for sure. Really, really good player, really technical player, reads the game well and is able to arrive in the penalty box and finish his opportunities.”

“It’s been a process,” Lletget said. “When Gregg got the job, I was lucky enough to be part of that group when he started to first integrate his style of play. At first, it was difficult, and I think it’s just been a slow progressive process for me. Now you’re seeing more of an understanding, a player that understands his role in this team.”

Lletget had to wait for his shining moments in the match, but did well alongside Kellyn Acosta, Yunus Musah, and second-half substitute Brenden Aaronson overall. His calm and composed attitude helped the Americans hold their own defensively against the Reggae Boyz, outside of Jamal Lowe’s second-half goal.

Offensively, the veteran midfielder recorded four total shots with three of those ending up on goal. He also completed 51 of his 61 passes in the match, stringing together opportunities for his teammates. It was a typical hardworking performance from Lletget, who remains a key piece in Berhalter’s squad going forward.

“I do think, as far as the coaching staff, we’ve built a good trust and I think the trust they’ve put in me, it gives me confidence,” Lletget said. “Anytime I step on the field I know what I have to do and they make my role really clear, so I think that helps me as a player and the type of player that I am.”

“As far as headlines, I know people think that I would love such a thing but honestly I’m pretty low-key. Honestly, more power to my teammates, I hope they keep getting the limelight because they deserve it.”

Lletget got to spectate in the first-half as Sergino Dest’s confident strike in the 34th minute got the Americans underway. He’s also gotten another opportunity to work with young, rising talents like Christian Pulisic, Musah, and Josh Sargent, who all started in the match.

Being able to score a pair of goals himself was a special moment, but Lletget understands the importance of his younger teammates stepping up and delivering positive moments as well.

“I do think we could’ve scored a few more goals in the first-half, but sometimes things don’t come off like you want them too,” Lletget said. “When somebody has the ability to do what Sergino did, like Christian can do, or Yunus can do, it definitely takes that load off your back. It’s special to see and I feel it’s only the beginning for us.”

“It’s funny in all honesty it’s been a pleasure playing alongside those guys. I think Serge has been amazing, Christian has just gone up another gear in his career, Weston as well, it’s just a joy to play with these guys.

Lletget will close out another camp with the USMNT on Sunday against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park before returning to MLS preseason with the Galaxy.

Comments

  1. folks really see what they want to see. Lletget could have scored more if flank service on both sides would have been played instead of poor shots on goal from poor angles in that first half. But I’m not calling out those euro players for those decisions and I appreciate Lletget’s maturity out there, his patience

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  2. Kind of funny I have not seen the last 20 minutes of the match? For the first 70 I would say Lletget is not up to the moment around the 18 box

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    • Totally agree. MOTM was Dest. Lletget is a good player but not on the same level as some of our young group. He does not appear to have the field vision of McKinney, Pulisic, Reyna etc. He will do a good job with the Galaxy.

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      • re. vision, have to disagree strongly, it’s a big part of his game and always has been. There are others from that game who did display some poor vision at times, but in attack going for goal, that kind of stuff happens, to all. Lletget’s vision to make the right runs paid off once others looked for him

  3. Yeah, I think Sergino Dest was clearly MotM, but it was nice to see lletget play well given his preseason form (I’m not sure highlighting a 83% pass completion rate is really something to get excited about, but he did create and deliver chances). I think Berhalter misstated the scrutiny Lletget’s (and Long’s/Acosta’s) inclusion solicited, as they were started over in-form Euro-based players who are in mid to late season, who Berhalter has said time and again need more time on the field. It doesn’t make sense to start known elements who haven’t hit form and who already have a lot of experience in a meaningless match. Nevertheless, credit to Seb for taking his chance. Looking fwd to the manufactured controversy around “should Lletget start over Musah or McKennie” soon to come to ESPN FC or USMNT boards near you because of the false framing of the objections by Greggy B.

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  4. When he first came to the Galaxy he looked to be one of the best technical US players at the time. They played him on left wing mostly and I think he scored 8 goals. I could see from the first he was an excellent passer and thought he was best in the middle. It might have been his 3rd season before they finally moved him to the middle because of injuries to others. I think he’s a good center mid. With all our young talent fans tend of overlook him, but he still has good value to the team. Good enough to beat out our European players? No, but the team won’t suffer when he comes in as a sub or replaces an injured player.

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  5. I could be wrong–I´ll trust that others on this sight see the game better than I do–but our “Man of the Match” gets his goals towards the end of the game when the match is opening up. In the first half? It looked to me like the perpetual weak link coming down the left side in attack. Dest and Pulisic (especially the former) making lightening fast decisions with Lletget gumming matters up on several key occasions by taking a split-second longer to make decisions and move the ball. I get it, goals matter. But was he really man of the MATCH? Are we watching the whole game?

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    • Completely agree with your assessment. I actually thought that Lletget & Acosta performed fairly poorly in comparison to the others starters. Both were a little slow in their decision making and a step behind in their movements.
      Thankfully, Lletget is at best a back-up to McKennie when everyone is available. As for Acosta….he should be even deeper down the pecking order than Lletget. Where exactly will greatly depend on the progression of the Olympic players…Cardoso, Otasowie, Yueill, & Durkin. All have more talent just lack experience and polish.

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      • To be fair, Acosta did an admirable job in place of the absent Adam in the game yesterday. The issue with Acosta has been inconsistency, but even Pulisic and Reyna have struggled with consistency. I’ve watched 3 consecutive games of Yueill in the Olympics Qualifying, and Yueill was not up to the task. So was Cardoso who appeared pretty clumsy and indecisive on the ball despite facing youth level opponents.

  6. I think that’s your supersub when the games start. Maybe starts if we have issues with getting full selections.

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