HANOVER, N.J. – Count Jesse Marsch among those pleased with the play of Sacha Kljestan in two recent national team appearances, the New York Red Bulls midfielder making his return to the international set-up after nearly two years away.
It is a return that Marsch, his head coach with the Red Bulls, has lobbied for a long time.
Kljestan scored two goals and added two assists in the two World Cup qualifying campaigns, easily showing his worth and production on the field. He looked every bit the part of not just a contributor but a possible starter moving forward for Jurgen Klinsmann.
“The soccer he brought into the game, the savviness, the ease in which he played. He made players around him better. Fun watching him and [Christian] Pulisic combine; they seem to have a natural relationship partly because I think they are both really smart, talented soccer players,” Marsch said on Wednesday following training.
Marsch spent two years as an assistant coach with the United States national team. He’s been adamant in his feelings that Kljestan deserved a call along with Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles (who got his second international cap this January) as well as midfielder Dax McCarty.
But for now, the focus is on Kljestan and his two sizzling performances, first as a substitute and then on Tuesday night as a starter in a 4-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago. The win clinched the United States a spot in the next round of World Cup qualifying.
It is the kind of performances from Kljestan that Marsch thinks that should warrant future call-ups to the national team.
“Really happy for Sasha, I think he made us all proud,” Marsch said. “I think he showed what he’s all about. I think it has earned him the right to be with that group.”