It is a return to the United States national team for at least two New York Red Bulls players, while a third continues his recent string of call-ups to the international stage. It marks the most players ever called up to the American national team at any one time from the club since Red Bull purchased the franchise in 2006.
Newly appointed national team head coach Bruce Arena, in his first camp since taking over from Jurgen Klinsmann, has called in three Red Bulls players. Midfielder Sacha Kljestan, an MVP finalist, gets another nod from the national team set-up after reintegrating himself into the squad this past summer following a season in MLS that might have been the best of his professional career.
Also called up are goalkeeper Luis Robles and midfielder Dax McCarty, both players who have taken significant leaps forward over the past two years. Robles was a part of the January camp last offseason under Klinsmann and made an appearance in a friendly match while McCarty was last called up two years ago.
McCarty, the team’s captain, has been rock-steady in the heart of the midfield for New York and his call-up is welcome news for the club as his efforts have often been overlooked around the league in favor of flashier, bigger names. Robles for his part has been arguably the league’s best goalkeeper since 2015, both players a major reason why the Red Bulls have twice won the Supporters Shield over the past three seasons. McCarty in particular has earned accolades from teammates and around the league as one of the best and most underrated midfielders in the league.
The three players are part of a strong international contingent on the Red Bulls that also includes left back Kemar Lawrence (Jamaica) and Anatole Abang (Cameroon), who is currently on loan in Denmark. In addition, Daniel Royer, signed this past summer, has six appearances with Austria’s national team.
The call-up from Arena is significant given that the coach has to do some rebuilding of the national program following the scorched earth policy that his predecessor had in regards to MLS players, an aversion to calling up players who weren’t based in Europe or German by blood (sic). Arena is a former head coach with the Red Bulls and is the most successful manager in MLS history.
He coached the United States in the World Cup in 2002 and 2006.