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Klinsmann Calls in 24 Players for Training Camp in Preparation for March 5 Match Against Ukraine in Cyprus

CHICAGO (Feb. 27, 2014) – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called in 24 players to training camp in Frankfurt, Germany, to begin preparations for its match against Ukraine on March 5 in Larnaca, Cyprus.

The match was previously set to be played in Kharkiv, Ukraine, but the location was changed due to current conditions in the country. Kickoff at Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Larnaca is set for 2 p.m. ET (9 p.m. local), and the match will be broadcast on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas. Fans can also follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer.

“In conjunction with the Football Federation of Ukraine, we have moved the match on March 5 to Larnaca, Cyprus,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “We appreciate the efforts of Ukraine and the Cyprus Football Association as we worked through this situation.”

The last time the U.S. Men’s National Team played an international friendly on neutral ground was against Poland on March 1, 2006, in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where a goal from current U.S. captain Clint Dempsey sealed a 1-0 USA victory.

“Finding a solution and moving the game outside the country and playing in Cyprus is helpful for both of us,” said Klinsmann. “It’s definitely a very good ‘Plan B,’ and we very much appreciate it and say thank you to the Ukraine Federation and the Cyprus Federation.

The match falls on the only FIFA international fixture date before May, making this the one opportunity for European-based players to play for the National Team prior to the start of the World Cup preparation camp. The team will begin gathering in Frankfurt on Sunday, March 2, for two days of training before traveling to play for the first time in Cyprus.

“This game is a huge opportunity, mainly for our European-based players, for those guys to prove to us that they are eager and hungry to jump on the train to the FIFA World Cup,” said Klinsmann. “With this game being the only chance for these players before our World Cup preparation camp begins, it’s even more important they have a good showing.”

A total of 21 players on the roster ply their trade in Europe. Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley, Seattle Sounders FC forward Dempsey and Club Tijuana defender Edgar Castillo are the only representatives on the squad from North American teams. In addition, 18-year-old Bayern Munich forward Julian Green will participate in training camp, but is not yet eligible to play in a match for the United States.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION – DETAILED ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS (7): John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Oguchi Onyewu (Sheffield Wednesday), Will Packwood (Birmingham City), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Barnsley), Danny Williams (Reading)
FORWARDS (6): Juan Agudelo (Utrecht), Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar)

ROSTER NOTES

  • Clint Dempsey finished with six goals in 2013, which equals a career high that he set last year. He is concluding a two-month loan spell with Fulham and will return to Seattle following the match against Ukraine.
  • Tim Howard has earned 96 caps and is four shy of becoming the third goalkeeper in U.S. history to reach 100 appearances. He also has 34 career shutouts for the United States, holding second place all-time ahead of National Soccer Hall of Famer Tony Meola.
  • Jozy Altidore had eight goals in 2013 and has 21 all-time, including four in World Cup Qualifiers. He set a team record by scoring in five consecutive games, and with his three-goal performance against Bosnia became the third player to score two career hat tricks for the U.S. National Team, joining Landon Donovan and Peter Millar. Altidore’s Sunderland side faces Manchester City in the League Cup final on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
  • AZ Alkmaar striker Aron Johannsson has posted 22 goals in all competitions this season, including nine in league play. Johannsson scored the game-winning goal against Panama in the USA’s last World Cup Qualifier in the 2014 cycle, a 3-2 win on Oct. 15, 2013, in Panama City. Born in Mobile, Ala., he completed his change of association from Iceland in time to enter as a substitute in the 63rd minute of the USA’s 4-3 win against Bosnia.
  • Terrence Boyd has 13 goals in all competitions for Rapid Vienna in this campaign, including eight in the Austrian Bundesliga and five in the Europa League.
  • Mix Diskerud is the only player on the roster to participate in the USA’s opening match of 2014, a 2-0 win against Korea Republic. He has appeared in 14 of the USA’s last 15 matches dating back to July 5, 2013, against Guatemala. Remarkably, the United States holds a record of 13-1-3 all-time in games in which Diskerud has appeared.
  • Geoff Cameron has snatched the regular role as right back at Stoke City, starting in 26 of 27 games in the Premier League this season. Having played as a central and wide defender as well in central midfield for the USA, he started in a total of six matches in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying
  • Brad Guzan backstopped three huge results in qualifying in 2013, collecting back-to-back clean sheets against Costa Rica in the Snow Clasico and the historic 0-0 draw against Mexico four days later, and then helping the U.S. to a 3-2 win against Panama in the final game of the Hexagonal. He has posted five shutouts in eight career World Cup qualifiers.
  • Jermaine Jones joins the squad for the first time since moving to Besiktas on loan in January, although a groin issue has prevented him from seeing action so far in Istanbul.
  • Midfielder Fabian Johnson has secured a move next season from Hoffenheim to Borussia Moenchengladbach – the former club of Michael Bradley.
  • Hertha Berlin defender John Brooks gets his third look with the Senior Team. The 20-year-old dual citizen of the United States and Germany has made two previous appearances, having started in the win against Bosnia and the game in Austria.
  • Alejandro Bedoya, who transferred to Nantes in Ligue 1 in France last summer, got on the scoresheet for the first time in his international career when he tallied in the USA’s 6-0 win against Guatemala on July 5 in San Diego.
  • Brek Shea is back in the squad for the first time since helping the U.S. to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title. Shea scored the lone goal in the USA’s 1-0 win against Panama in the championship final.
  • Oguchi Onyewu returns to the U.S. fold for the first time since being a part of the squad that won the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup last July.
  • Tim Ream, a regular starter at Bolton, gets his first call up since the 4-3 win against Bosnia-Herzegovina in August.
  • It has been more than a year since Reading midfielder Danny Williams saw action for the U.S., having last earned minutes in the 2-1 loss to Honduras on Feb. 6, 2013, in San Pedro Sula. He has started the last 15 league games for Reading and has scored twice this month.
  • Will Packwood has the chance to earn his first cap for the Senior National Team. The 20-year-old defender plays alongside Jonathan Spector at Birmingham City. A leg injury prevented Packwood from participating in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Sacha Kljestan Q&A: “I’m just trying to work as hard as I can and stay humble.”

ussoccer.com: You’re in Paris getting ready for Anderlecht’s UEFA Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain. Given your spot in the group table, is this a “must-win” at this point ?
Sacha Kljestan: “We have started the Champions League very poorly. We’ve definitely underachieved according to our standards. We have three games left, and we need to take points hopefully in all of them.

“Obviously playing PSG in Paris is a very difficult game. Hopefully we can get out of here with something. That would be ideal. It’s going to be a very tough game. We know they’re a team full of stars and they’ve proven already in the Champions League this year that they’re one of the top teams in the tournament.”

ussoccer.com: Is the opportunity to play in games like this, to play against teams like PSG, one of the reasons for making the move to play in Europe in the first place ?
SK: “One of the reasons that I was very excited and happy to come to Anderlecht was the chance to play in Champions League. These kinds of experiences you can’t buy; you can’t just get these anywhere. These are huge games that you play in and especially playing against a team like PSG where the entire team is international players who start for their international team and who play for teams that maybe we’ll see in Brazil. It’s important playing against these guys and playing at a high level to gain that experience. Hopefully I continue to get better and improve myself while playing against the best in the world.”

ussoccer.com: In the Belgian Jupiler League now you have three goals in three games and seven in league play so far. That’s more than you’ve ever scored in your career in one season and it’s only three months into the season. What would you say has contributed to your success on the scoring front ?
SK: “It’s hard to explain. Four of the seven goals have come off set pieces. I’ve been putting myself in good positions to score on set pieces. The others have come from the run of play. I’ve just been putting myself in a good spot and really taking my chances.

“It’s not like I’ve had a ton of opportunities to score this season. I’ve really had maybe 10 and scored on seven of them. It’s just one of those things that happen in soccer. Sometimes when you get in the zone and you get a little bit of luck here and there, and you have some experience to go along with it, things just kind of fall into place. Right now, I have the hot hand and I hope it continues.”

ussoccer.com: Anderlecht is in fourth place right now but only four points off the pace. This early in the season, you’re typically either at the front or near to it. Are you at where you want to be ?
SK: “No, we’re chasing right now. It’s not where we want to be. We have to play the hand that we’ve been dealt. This season we sold a lot of our older, experienced players and we have a very young team, so it’s a bit of a rebuilding year.

“However, I still believe with the way the league works in Belgium – we end up with a 10-game playoff at the end of the year, basically exactly like the Hex – the most important thing is that you get into the playoffs in a good position and then anything can happen. So, even though it’s a rebuilding year here for us, I still think that we can challenge for the title.”

ussoccer.com: With it being a rebuilding year with so many veteran players gone and so many younger players in, you’re one of the veteran players they chose to keep. What does that say to you, and have you taken on more of a leadership role ?
SK: “I have taken more of a leadership role this season. I think I’m fifth-oldest on the team now and I’ve started every game that I’ve been healthy for this season and been ready for. With all these young guys, you give advice when they need it. Now we had a difficult period where we lost a few games and you have to rely on your experienced players, so trying to be a leader on and off the field will help the team and improve my game. It’s a good challenge early in the season. I’m happy with the way things have gone recently and I hope they continue to get better.”

ussoccer.com: Being in a leadership position is also a growth opportunity for a player. Would you say you have grown in this new role ?
SK: “Yes, for sure. You have to have patience. You have to rely on your experience. I’ve played in big games now. I’ve played quite a few games for the National Team. So, I try to help the young guys as much as I can, but also you learn about yourself, as well. I’ve never been a huge vocal leader, so I try to lead with my mentality, the way I go about things every day in training and the way I play in the games. Being a leader comes in more ways than just talking.”

ussoccer.com: As we add up the pieces that we’ve talked about and you look toward the National Team and particularly the opportunity to make the roster for Brazil next summer, how do these experiences with leadership, playing in big games, and scoring a lot of goals help you position yourself as the decisions get made ?
SK: “I think every little thing you do is important. Playing in Champions league is important, being a leader on your team is important, scoring goals and helping your team win games is important also. I’m just trying to do everything in my power to put myself in a good position to be one of the guys that Jurgen [Klinsmann] counts on when it comes to Brazil. There’s no perfect formula for anything, but just trying to work as hard as I can, stay humble, keep working and hope that this season ends on a high note and we’re all in Brazil together really challenging for something.”

ussoccer.com: Jurgen has talked about the qualities you bring to the National Team and how in some ways it’s circumstance that has dictated the minutes that you have gotten with the team. How have you kept your perspective in those times ?
SK: “At the beginning it was very difficult for me. I was very frustrated. We’ve come to see that Michael [Bradley] and Jermaine [Jones] are the two center midfielders on the team. When they’re healthy, those are the two guys. My position now is to battle the best I can to become that third guy. I think recently in the games I have played I’ve done well. When I came on against Bosnia and helped the team to a victory in the end, and the same against Jamaica when I came on. So, maybe my impact is in that substitute role that can help the team in the middle of the field get the game going and things like that.

“I had a good talk with Jurgen when we were in Kansas City. I feel positive about my performances lately and I hope to continue getting more chances before the World Cup to prove that I’m valuable to the team.”

ussoccer.com: Were there things he told you that you could do ?
SK: “No, nothing specific. He told me that I’m doing all the right things. I came to Europe to challenge myself and became a leader on my team. I play every game and obviously I’m getting good experiences in Champions League. I think he’s pleased with what I’m doing with my club career right now.”

ussoccer.com: There are only three international fixture dates between now and when the World Cup training camp starts next May. How important are the friendlies against Scotland and Austria in that light ?
SK: “It’s very important. Like you said, there’s only a few fixture dates left, so not a lot of games coming up before the World Cup. Every game is an opportunity, every international date is a chance to prove to Jurgen, the staff and the team that you belong and you can make a difference. So, hopefully I’m there with the guys. Obviously playing against two very good European teams in Europe is always a challenge and hopefully we get a good result.”

ussoccer.com: With where you’re at right now with the performances this year, with the progress you’re making with the National Team, are these some of the best times you’ve had in your career ?
SK: “Yes, in the past few months, it’s been pretty good. Obviously winning the championships with Anderlecht back-to-back were amazing feats and I felt good being a big part of that, but on a personal level, I think my last few games with the National Team have been a good streak of games. It’s been a good few months with the National Team, so that feels good. I hope that continues and I hope I continue this good run of form with Anderlecht all season long leading up to the summer.”

ussoccer.com: Given your particular history as it relates to mustaches, how excited are you and your fans about it being “Movember” ?
SK: “I saw somebody tweet at me a while ago saying ‘It’s Movember year-round for Sacha,” which is pretty much true. It makes no difference to me, but maybe when National Team games come up soon, you’ll see a nice mustache on me again.”

Heed the Word: U.S. Men’s National Team Players Produce Game Changing Performances

In an interview with ussoccer.com last week, U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann expressed his delight at seeing both Alejandro Bedoya and Aron Johannsson translating their international form into production for their respective clubs. The German manager went on to reiterate that he and his coaching staff continue to look for players who are not just playing with their clubs, but making a positive impact on the pitch.

With that call to arms sounding out across the U.S. MNT player pool, a large group of National Team regulars delivered game changing performances over the weekend in both leagues abroad and MLS.

Perhaps the best example of an American player translating good international form into production at club level this past weekend is none other than Jozy Altidore. After being handed the captaincy for the U.S. MNT’s final World Cup qualifier against Panama a fortnight ago, Altidore returned to England and in last weekend’s Tyne-Wear Derby, provided the game-winning assist in the dying minutes that gave Sunderland (England) its first win of the season.

Altidore wasn’t the only American striker to make the difference at a crucial moment in a European derby either. Terrence Boyd’s 88th-minute game-winner handed Rapid Vienna a 1-0 win over Austria Vienna (Austria) in the Wiener Derby.

American midfielders Michael Bradley and Sacha Kljestan also scored important goals for their clubs during the weekend albeit in different dramatic time frames. Bradley, coming on as a second-half sub for AS Roma (Italy), helped the Giallorossi continue their perfect start to the season by slotting home the match-winning strike in the 82nd minute against Udinese.

While his compatriots were delivering late-game heroics, Kljestan provided fireworks right from the opening whistle, scoring only 41 seconds into RSC Anderlecht’s 1-1 draw with Standard Liege (Belgium).

At the opposite end of the pitch, two of America’s best goalkeepers also displayed game changing ability as Tim Howard’s Everton and Brad Guzan’s Aston Villa (England) sides faced one another at Villa Park. Although Everton kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win thanks in large part to Howard saving a penalty kick, Guzan also showed his shot-stopping ability by making a couple key saves to keep the Villans’ hopes alive late into the match.

Across the Atlantic, a second shutout performance came from Club Tijuana (Mexico) defender Edgar Castillo who helped Xolos keep Jose Torres and UANL Tigres off the board in a 0-0 draw in Tijuana.

In last week’s interview, Klinsmann once again expressed his desire to see MLS-based players make loan moves to European clubs over the MLS offseason.

It should therefore please him to see Graham Zusi continue his good international form with Sporting Kansas City. The midfielder scored the opening goal in SKC’s 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union that secured second spot in the Eastern Conference for the Kansas City club.

The boss will also be happy to see Clint Dempsey among the goals again. The former Fulham and Tottenham (England) attacker scored his first MLS goal since returning to the league in the Seattle Sounders’ 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy.

And to cap it all off, Brad Davis – the man whose cross supplied Zusi for the goal that turned the Hexagonal on its head – served up a game-winning assist that secured the Houston Dynamo a berth in the MLS Cup playoffs for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.

Friends and Foes: U.S. MNT Players Face Club Teammates in Cleveland

As the U.S. Men’s National Team look out on its match with Belgium tonight from FirstEnergry Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, they will be facing a foe as familiar as it is dangerous. The Belgians enter the match ranked 15th in the world in the latest FIFA rankings and provide an opponent ripe with connections to the U.S. MNT.

Several Belgian stars share the pitch with members of the MNT in one of the most topflight league’s in the world, the English Premier League. Where U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan was an integral part of Aston Villa avoiding relegation by saving goals, his Belgian teammate, Christian Benteke did his part to keep Villa up by scoring them. Nineteen to be exact, good enough for fourth in England’s topflight.

Two Belgian players were also selected to the Premier League team of the year with defender Jan Vertonghen and Europa league champion forward Eden Hazard being named to the Best XI. Vertonghen and fellow Belgian Moussa Dembele play with U.S. MNT veteran Clint Dempsey at Tottenham and helped Spurs to a fifth place finish in their latest Premier League campaign.

“It’s a team that has a lot of great players. Not only Moussa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen who play [with me] for Tottenham but they have a lot of up and coming players,” Dempsey said. “Benteke was really great this season for Aston Villa and they have Hazard who plays for Chelsea. They just have a lot of quality and a lot of depth. They’re a young team that’s first in their group for World Cup Qualifying so it’s going to be a tough game.”

Another MNT veteran who knows how good the Belgians are from firsthand experience is Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, who along with his Belgian teammates helped the Toffees to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League this season.

“They’re two really good players on a team that has some top level European players. Most of their players play at the top level around Europe,” Howard said. “We have Marouane Felliani and Kevin Mirallas who are two very talented and classy players.”

“Felliani’s been there for a while at Everton and he’s powerful, he’s got really delicate feet, he’s a good midfielder who can also play up top and he’s more of a physical presence.”

Felliani was huge for Everton as they chased a spot in next year’s European competitions all season as the midfielder finished first on the team in goals with 11, and second on the team in assists with five. Mirallas finished fifth on the team with six goals and also added three assists on the season.

“Kevin is the showstopper, he can produce magic when you get the ball to his feet in wide areas,” Howard said. “He likes to dribble and turn people, he gets in good crosses, he’s a classy finisher in front of goal, he picks his spots and he takes his chances when he gets them. He’s been very dangerous and as the year went on at Everton he grew into that role. It took him a little while to pick up the pace of the premiership, which I think most players find difficult but he settled in really well and produced magic for us.”

With skill, style, class and magic combined, the U.S. will indeed face a challenging test tonight in Cleveland. They are not only going up against a very talented opponent: they’ll be going up against very talented teammates.

Belgium Match has Deeper Meaning for Sacha Kljestan

While tonight's clash against Belgium will pit many club teammates against each other, one American has a deeper connection.

Sacha Kljestan – who will make his first start under Jurgen Klinsmann when he lines up in midfield tonight - plays for two-time defending champion Anderlecht of the Belgian Pro League.

“It’s special for me because I play against a lot of these guys week in and week out,” Kljestan said. “I’ve watched the Belgian team and followed them very closely.”

The Belgian National Team has one other player from Anderlecht, defender Guillaume Gillet, a player Kljestan said the U.S. Men’s National Team must look out for. 

“He’s a very attacking-minded right back who can get up and down a lot,” Kljestan said of his teammate in Belgium. “He’s got a good engine, he’s got great technique and is going to attack a lot from the right back position.”

Another player Kljestan knows and played with is striker Romelu Lukaku, who finished sixth in the English Premier League with 17 goals while on loan with West Bromwich Albion.

“He’s a young boy, but he’s a good striker with a lot of talent,” Kljestan said. “He’s got some pace; he’s got good technique in the box and definitely a handful to deal with.”

Lukaku played at Anderlecht from 2009 until 2011 when he was signed by Chelsea. His younger brother Jordan is still teammates with Kljestan in Belgium.

Though many of the Belgian National Team players play outside the country, Kljestan said he still hears about them in the newspapers every week. Belgium has a lot of talent and he believes they’ll give the U.S. all they can handle.

“Normal soccer fans in the States don’t know, but in my opinion, Belgium is one of the best teams in the world right now.”

Staying Fit

For many of the U.S. players on the upcoming training camp roster, this has been a rare week of down time between duty for club and country. Many of the leagues in Europe are already shuddered for the season, and camp kicks off May 26 in Cleveland. So does down time also mean off time?

Not precisely.

With the philosophy of reaching peak performance by the time the World Cup Qualifier against Jamaica rolls around June 7 in Kingston, U.S. MNT performance fitness coach Masa Sakihana designed specialized programs for players based on their individual circumstance.

“The goal is to help them recover from the season and shift to building towards the qualifiers,” said Sakihana. “Some have had long seasons where they played consistently, and others are coming off injuries and need a little extra fitness or physical work. We want them to get rest, but also keep them going to a degree so the work can begin straight away in Cleveland.”

Not all situations are the same. DaMarcus Beasley, who finished his season with Puebla in the first week in May, has been training with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.  Stuart Holden has been back at work with his former teammates at the Houston Dynamo. Others -  like Geoff Cameron, Sacha Kljestan and Michael Parkhurst  - has their seasons wrap up last weekend and are going it on their own.

“Each player had been sent a three-day program which includes fitness and core exercises,” Sakihana said. “For the players on their own, the first day involves recovery runs. Day two is medium intensity, with short to longer high speed runs, and the third day is a little more intense as we try to keep stimulating their cardiopulmonary and nervous systems. For the guys training with teams, they can pick and choose what they need based on the workload of the training sessions they are in.”

The most important element in the process is communication. Each player has his own needs and knows his body best.

“I’ve been in constant contact with the guys to know exactly how they are feeling and where their needs lie,” Sakihana said. “We make adjustments as we need, always keeping in mind that we want them peaking at the right time.”

A rangy and skillful midfielder, Sacha Kljestan’s effusive personality shines through in his play. His fourth career goal in February 2010 against El Salvador helped put him in the final mix for South Africa. A product of the U.S. youth national teams and a member of both the 2005 U.S. U-20 World Cup team and the 2008 Olympic team, he brings a different element to the expanding pool of U.S. midfielders. After four plus seasons at Chivas USA, he made the jump across the pond to defending Belgian league champion Anderlecht, where in 2011, he became a regular starter.

  • Played in every game for the U.S. in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup
  • Part of the 30-man preliminary squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
  • His hat trick against Sweden on Jan. 24, 2009, put him in unique company as only the second player to open his national team scoring account with a hat trick. The only other player to accomplish the feat was Aldo “Buff” Donelli, who tallied four goals in a 4-2 victory against Mexico on May 24, 1934
  • Moved to Belgian league champion Anderlecht in the summer of 2010 and immediately started in Europa League qualifying matches

2011: Made a total of nine appearances, tying his 2009 career high …  Featured in all six of the U.S.’s CONCACAF Gold Cup matches, starting two … 2010: His fourth career goal for the full team proved the game-winner as he tallied in second half stoppage time of the 2-1 win against El Salvador in Tampa … Collected a total of four appearances, starting on Jan. 23 against Honduras and entering as a halftime sub on May 25 against Turkey and Aug. 10 against Brazil … 2009: Made nine appearances, starting four games … Started at center midfield during the 2-0 victory against Mexico on Feb. 11, to open the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying … A member of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup team, he made two appearances in the tournament … Started against Brazil during the FIFA Confederations Cup before being red carded in the second half … Came on as a sub during the final at Ellis Park in Johannesburg … Scored a hat trick against Sweden on Jan. 24, his first three goals for the USA … The three goals put him in unique company as only the second player ever to open his national team scoring account with a hat trick. The only other player to pull off the feat was Aldo “Buff” Donelli, who tallied four goals in a 4-2 victory against Mexico on May 24, 1934 … 2008: Earned U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Athlete of the Year award … Made eight appearances in 2008, starting five games … All of his career-high five starts came in World Cup qualifying, tied with a host of players for third-most on the team … Tallied a career-best two assists, both in the 6-1 qualifying win against Cuba on Oct. 11 at RFK Stadium … His slide-rule pass set up DaMarcus Beasley for the team’s first goal and earned Kljestan a “Best of” nomination for Best Assist … Added a second assist on Brian Ching’s goal … 2007: Earned his first cap with the U.S. MNT when he started against China in June of 2007 … Also tallied an assist in that game when he played Benny Feilhaber through for the second goal of a 4-1 victory … Part of the team for the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela, he earned two caps with starts against Paraguay and Colombia … Appeared as a sub in a friendly against South Africa in November … Under-23s: Featured in all three games in Beijing, finishing as the team’s leading scorer with two goals and playing every minute of the competition … Latched onto a Freddy Adu throughball to finish past the goalkeeper and level the game against Netherlands at 1-1 … Tucked away a late penalty against Nigeria, but the U.S. fell 2-1 and was eliminated from the competition … Appeared in four out of five CONCACAF Olympic qualifying games, earning an Honorable Mention to the All-Tournament Team … Served as vice-captain to Maurice Edu … Scored the third goal of a 3-0 win during the crucial semifinal match against Canada in Nashville when he finished off a full-field passing move … Captained Peter Nowak’s U-23 squad in a December 2007 trip to China … Under-20s: Was a part of the U-20 World Cup team that competed in Holland in 2005 … Played in two of three qualifying matches, starting and registering an assist against Costa Rica in 2005 … Played in 12 matches, starting nine … Five appearances for the team were in international matches, with two of them being starts … Registered two international assists over the course of the year, tying him for the most on the team … Scored a goal against Borussia Mönchengladbach … Came into camp for the first time with any youth national team for the U-20s in July 2004 for the Ballymena International Tournament in Northern Ireland … Got his first U-20 cap coming on as a sub against Denmark on July 17 in 1-1 draw … Started first match against Wales in a 1-1 draw on July 21 … Also invited into the final camp of 2004 at The Home Depot Center … Started against Canada on Dec. 20 … Got his first goal against Mexican first division club team Necaxa on Dec. 18 … First Appearance: June 2, 2007, vs. China … First Goal: Jan. 24, 2009, vs. Sweden.
2011: Has started every game in which he featured for Anderlecht in all competitions … Added three goals and four assists … Opened Anderlecht’s scoring in the Europa League match against Lokomotiv Moscow on Dec. 14 with an equalizer before his team went on to win 5-3 … Notched a goal and set up another in the 4-0 win against SK Lierse on Oct. 30 … Scored his first goal of the season in the 3-1 win against Mechelen on Aug. 5 … 2010-11: Moved to RSC Anderlecht in the summer and got tossed straight into the mix, starting and scoring in the 3-1 victory against TNS on July 27 in UEFA Champions League qualifying … Started in the 3-0 victory in the return leg a week later … Tallied his first league goal on Aug. 21 in 3-0 win against Lokeren … An injury put the brakes on his otherwise promising beginning to the season … Upon return, he appeared in 14 straight matches, including starts in Europa League group play against AEK, Zenit and Hajduk Split … Ended his first Belgian league season with 25 appearances … Made 10 appearances for Chivas USA to start the year before transferring to Belgium … 2009: Made 25 appearances, coming on strong in the second half of the season to score five goals and tally three assists … His five goals tied a career best … Helped Chivas into the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year … Made two appearances during the first round of the playoffs, grabbing one assist in the postseason … 2008: Featured in 22 games for Chivas USA, starting 21, while earning MLS Best XI honors for the first time in his career … Scored a career-high five goals and added seven assists, good for second-best in the league … Helped Chivas USA overcome significant injury problems to return to the postseason for the third consecutive year … 2007: Started all 25 games in which he appeared for Chivas USA, playing 2,186 minutes … Scored four goals for the team as Chivas captured their first Western Conference title in club history … Was third in Major League Soccer with 13 assists during the regular season … 2006: Appeared in 32 regular-season games for Chivas USA … Including 31 starts, he played 2,676 minutes and contributed seven assists, the highest number among MLS rookies … In the first ever trip to the postseason for Chivas, he played in both games in the conference semifinals, logging 112 minutes and registering one assist.
High School / Club – Earned All-Star Team honors for Region IV Team at The Home Depot Interregional Tournament in January 2004 … Started two games during the tournament, helping the U.S. to a sixth-place finish … Played soccer for three years at Huntington Beach … Scored 11 goals with 11 assists as a senior, earning First Team All-Sunset League honors … Played for the Region IV Olympic Development Program for three years … The leading scorer for the Cal-South ODP team in the Regional and National Championships.

Personal – Full name is Sacha Bryan Kljestan … Has an older brother, Gordon, who has played professionally indoor and in MLS … Describes himself as an avid golfer … Music is a big part of his life … Engaged to actress and model Jamie Lee Darley.
Finished his college career with 20 goals and helped Seton Hall University to three NCAA Tournament appearances ... Ranks fifth all-time at the school with 28 assists during a three-year career … 2005: Selected as Big East Offensive Player of the Year … Also named to All-Big East First Team … Selected as Third Team All-American … Set the school record for most assists (15) in a season … 2004: Preseason All-Big East Selection at Seton Hall … Played and started in all 22 games for the Pirates … Finished second in scoring with 21 points (7 goals, 7 assists) … Had five game-winning goals … Named First Team All-Region … Named First Team All-American … 2003: Made 18 starts in the midfield for Seton Hall … Finished second on the team in points (14), assists (6) and goals (4) … Earned All-Big East Third Team honors, one of only three league freshmen to earn all-conference honors … Garnered back-to-back Big East Rookie of the Week honors in September … Recorded a goal and two assists in the 4-2 win against No. 6 St. John’s on Sept. 24 … Awarded College Soccer News All-Freshman Third Team honors … Seton Hall Freshman Male Athlete of the Year … Named to Big East Academic All-Star Team.
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