September 2, 2016
24 IMPRESSIVE MINUTES
Kljestan (1 goal, 2 assists) shines for USMNT in WCQ
KINGSTOWN, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines -- Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan could have not asked for a better comeback to the U.S. national team Friday afternoon.
|Sacha Kljestan was outstanding during his short, second-half stint with the U.S. national team Friday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Kljestan made his presence felt during a 24-minute stint, scoring once and setting up two goals to boost the Americans into a 6-0 Group C win over Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Kljestan has earned 47 caps and scored five goals since making his international debut in 2007. A member of the preliminary roster for the 2010 World Cup, he last appeared for the U.S. in a 2-0 friendly loss to Ukraine in Lanarca, Cyprus on March 5, 2014.
Five minutes after the former Seton Hall standout replaced Alejandro Bedoya in the 66th minute, Kljestan connected with fellow second-half sub Christian Pulisic to give the USA a 4-0 advantage.
A well-worked passing sequence found Kljestan with the ball on the right wing as he whipped in a cross to the penalty spot for Pulisic, who brought the ball down with the outside of his right foot before finishing with his left into the lower right hand corner.
The goal made Pulisic the youngest U.S. player (17 years, 349 days) to score a World Cup qualifying goal.
Seven minutes later, Pulisic returned the favor to Kljestan. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder raced down the left flank and cut a ball across the top of the six-yard box for an open Kljestan, who tapped the ball across the line for his first international goal in six years.
Kljestan last scored in a 2-1 friendly win against El Salvador Feb. 24, 2010.
Two minutes into stoppage time, the Pulisic-Kljestan connection struck again. This time the former found the back of the net. With the ball at the right edge of the penalty area, Kljestan spun and picked out Pulisic waiting at the top of the area. Pulisic golfed a shot into the upper left corner for his first multi-goal game of his international career.
Kljestan leads Major League Soccer with a team-record 15 assists.