In the wake of several key creative players, Kljestan will have his chance to shine against Guatemala.KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Sacha Kljestan hasn't had too many chances with the U.S. national team under Jurgen Klinsmann, so he's determined not to waste this one.
The Anderlecht midfielder featured in a friendly against Italy in February, but has missed out on every camp since until the recent call-up to a pair of World Cup qualifiers.
Against Antigua and Barbuda on Friday, Kljestan came off the bench and immediately put the first U.S. shot on target in the second half. His arrival led to a clutch of chances, with Eddie Johnson eventually putting one away for the narrow 2-1 win.
“In Antigua I had 12 minutes so I had to make the most of it and I think I did,” Kljestan said.
Klinsmann's instructions to Kljestan before he went on the field were to instigate as much as possible.
“He just told me to play quickly, play with urgency, try to get things in front of the goal, and obviously play forward – don't play square balls or play backwards,” Kljestan said. I think I tried to play forward as much as I could.”
Next up is Guatemala. A draw and the United States will progress to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying. A loss could see Jamaica through instead if it makes up the goal differential.
“Jurgen's given me the opportunity to help the team in an important time for the team,” the former Chivas USA midfielder said.
With Klinsmann missing Brek Shea and Landon Donovan to injury, Kljestan could again need to provide the creative impetus.
“As a team we feel the pressure of the important games,” he said. “Personally, I just want to make the most of my opportunity.”
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