Sacha Kljestan’s inclusion to the U.S. national team will give the side a pure playmaker at midfield. (Keith Furman/FrontRowSoccer Photo)
Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan Sunday was added to the U.S. national team roster for two World Cup qualifying games, U.S. Soccer announced.
Kljestan, who was in January Camp with the USMNT, replaces Bobby Wood (back injury) on the roster.
Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler also will join the team to bolster its backline.
The Red Bulls midfielder will join the Americans side as it take on Honduras (Friday) and Panama (March 28). Kljestan’s teammate, defender Michael Amir Murillo, will be with the Panamanian team.
“I’m very excited,” Kljestan said. “I want to go in and help the team. It doesn’t matter to me if I was the first guy called in or the 25th. I just want to get there and make an impact whether I play 180 minutes in those two games or I don’t get to play at all. I just want to be a guy to help the team.
“The biggest thing right now is we need a couple of wins. So we’re not in a great spot. I’m going there try to help the guys to get this thing back on track.”
Kljestan reclaimed a regular spot with the national team in 2016, breaking into camp in September and posting two solid performances in World Cup qualifiers against St. Vincent & The Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago. Kljestan was also with the team for an October camp, as well as the first two matches in the CONCACAF hexagonal phase of qualifying.
Most recently, Kljestan featured in the U.S.’s scoreless draw with Serbia in January.
Kljestan will miss the Red Bulls’ home game against Real Salt Lake Saturday.
He will be available to play for New York against the Seattle Sounders Sunday.
Besler was part of all four U.S. matches at the 2014 World Cup. He also is tested in the rigors of World Cup qualifying, recording 10 caps and a goal during two cycles.
Updated Roster by Position (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 33/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (10): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 33/6), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 10/1), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER; 2/0) Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 19/2), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 12/0), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/MEX; 6/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 2/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas; 0/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 15/3)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 1/0), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 6/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 31/5), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy; 16/0), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls; 18/2), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 3/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 5/2)
FORWARDS (3): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 33/16), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 36/13), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 3/0)