Sacha Kljestan has been called into training camp for USMNT in advance of the U.S. World Up qualifying matches that begin on Sept. 2.
After being a consistent presence in Bob Bradley's squads, the 30-year old Red Bulls midfielder found himself out of favor with the current regime. Now, he finally makes his return to the team.
Following a 2013 friendly against Scotland, Jurgen Klinsmann publicly complained that Kljestan was unable to fulfill the desired role of an attacking midfielder. Klinsmann wanted someone who would find the space in between the midfielder and defensive lines while linking up with strikers. At the time, that wasn't Kljestan's traditional role or skillset.
In two years with the New York Red Bulls, Kljestan has completely changed how he plays. He successfully transitioned from a box-to-box midfielder into a rugged, pressing, attacking midfielder who can help on defense and support the striker(s).
He currently leads MLS in assists and is one of the league's best free kick takers. This may be a courtesy call up (even though Kljestan's play over the last two seasons demands more), but he deserves a spot in the national team pool after putting in two years of hard work.
Now, if Kljestan plays, at what position will he be deployed? Despite past demands, it's quite possible he plays as a defensive midfielder (or winger, fullback, etc.). Klinsmann has proven to be unpredictable with his tactics, lining up players outside of their regular spots in hopes of unlocking some previously unearthed abilities.
The 2018 World Cup is rapidly approaching and there is currently a gap in the national team pool at attacking midfielder. Clint Dempsey isn't getting any younger, and an heir apparent has yet to emerge.
This could be Kljestan's chance to jump back into the national team picture and cement himself as a first-choice option for the next two years. The upcoming World Cup Qualifying opponents (Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines) should provide an opportunity for him to showcase his growth into an attacking threat.