Sacha Kljestan deserves to be recognized as MVP candidate

Kansas

Despite spells of disappointment from the New York Red Bulls this season, one man has been the top dog for the team and is deserving to be in the Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player award discussion. Sacha Kljestan has been among the most consistent players in MLS and continues to play at a high level, even though the Red Bulls attack has been spotty throughout 2016.

During Sunday’s match against the Philadelphia Union, Kljestan played his best game this season as he was in dominant form with two great goals against a tricky Union team that is fighting for the top spot of the Eastern Conference.

Despite Kljestan’s best effort, the Red Bulls were unable to hang on for the win and came away with a disappointing 2-2 draw against the Union.

Kljestan talked about after the match on his 2 goal performance in the first half, saying, “We did a very good job picking up the ball in their half on the very first goal. Bradley played me a perfect pass, I just had to take a touch and put it in the corner. The second one obviously is fortunate because it takes a deflection and Andre Blake is wrong footed. So it was a good time to score just before the half. I wish we had come out a little bit better.”

Head coach Jesse Marsch described Kljestan’s value following the game.

“His ability to dictate the game and see plays and setup attacking players and find gaps in the mid field and meet the demands physically of how we ask him to play, to pressure to run, to win battles and head balls, he’s the perfect number ten for us,” Marsch said.

Kljestan fits the way that Marsch wants his team to play and is an essential part of the success of the Marsch era for the Red Bulls.

Marsch echoed similar sentiments in regards to his prized midfielder.

“As high of expectations as I’ve had for him he’s exceeded them,” Marsch said. “I think that even when every team plays us and they know how important Sacha is, he still manages to have great games and dictate and control the game.”

The stats for Kljestan this season really shows how good he has been for the team. He leads the league in assists thus far with 10 and has four goals as well, which is third on the team’s top goalscoring list.

(Photo Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports)