Sacha Kljestan: “I’m going to represent my teammates, the coaching staff, the entire club and the supporters in the best way possible.” (Keith Furman/Front Row Soccer Photo)

By Michael Lewis

Front Row Soccer Editor

With the departure of Dax McCarty to the Chicago Fire, there’s a new captain in town for the Red Bulls — Sacha Kljestan.

The veteran midfielder was named captain of the team Wednesday morning ahead of the team’s preseason match against New York City FC later in the day.

“He’s a great leader,” head coach Jesse Marsch said. “He’s such a big piece of what we do.

“I really expect his leadership to grow immensely this year now that he’s captain.”

Kljestan, 31, has been with the Red Bulls since they acquired him from Anderlecht (Belgium) in 2015. He has been a vital part of the team’s midfield, becoming only the second Major League Soccer player to reach at least 20 assists in one season (20 in 2016).

“It’s definitely an honor to be named captain of this club,” Kljestan said. “I am excited about the chance to lead the group.”

A league MVP finalist last season, Kljestan also was named to the MLS Best XI. The one-time Seton Hall University standout also returned to the U.S. national team in 2016 and recently returned from U.S. national team training camp in Carson, Calif. after the birth of his second child.

“I think the most important thing is that I’m going to represent my teammates, the coaching staff, the entire club and the supporters in the best way possible,” Kljestan said.

McCarty was sold to the Fire last month.