The United States men's national team defeated Trinidad and Tobago, 4-0, in a World Cup Qualifying match at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida on Tuesday night.
New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan started at attacking midfielder and scored the opening goal in the 44th minute.
With the win, the United States clinched the top spot in Group C of the Fourth Round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. The Fifth Round (known as the Hexagonal) begins in November.
When Kljestan moved from Anderlecht to the New York Red Bulls, many assumed his dormant national team career was officially over. However, he became an offensive weapon in MLS, with so many assists that he eventually could not be ignored. The narrative changed from "Should he get a call up?" to "Will his club form carry over to the national team?"
In his two "return" matches for the national team, Kljestan has been fantastic, contributing two goals and two assists. He's done everything that could possibly be asked of him, playing the pure attacking midfielder role the national team has been lacking.
Prior to the win over Trinidad, the 30-year-old California native described how his mentality has changed over the years.
"I think back then, I was also a bit apprehensive to make mistakes," Kljestan said on Monday. "I think I wanted to be more on the safe side of things. When you play like that, you're never going to play at your best."
Against St. Vincent and Trinidad, he played anything but safe. Kljestan's performance in both matches was much more impressive than the goals and assists. He was buzzing around the field and constantly finding open space. His passes were crisp and there was a mix of comfort and incisiveness to his attacking. Kljestan passed the eye test and didn't just look like a national team player, but a dominant one.
The national team has friendlies in October and the next round of World Cup Qualifying in November. Kljestan deserves to be included in both camps, and it will be very difficult for Jurgen Klinsmann to keep him away.