Red Bull dealing pays off; Sacha Kljestan arrives

The New York Red Bulls have succeeded in outflanking the LA Galaxy to land U.S. national team midfielder Sacha Kljestan from Belgian club Anderlecht, where he's played since 2010 and won three league titles.

When the Galaxy sent Marcelo Sarvas, a key midfielder for the defending champion, to Colorado nine days ago to move up to third in the allocation order, it seemed the move was attended to land Kljestan. But on Tuesday, the Red Bulls leap-frogged the Galaxy in the allocation order by trading for Montreal’s spot in a deal that also sent defender Ambroise Oyongo and midfielder Eric Alexander to Montreal and Felipe to the Red Bulls.

“Well, certainly it changes the pecking order on players that are available,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told LA Galaxy Insider after the Red Bull-Montreal deal and before the Red Bulls inked Kljestan. “That’ll likely be the case that maybe our first preferred choice we wouldn’t get and we get somebody else.”

A California product, Kljestan played for Chivas USA -- where he was a teammate of Red Bull coach Jesse Marsch -- after bring drafted out of Seton Hall.

He has played 46 times for the USA, including qualifying games for the 2010 and 2014 World Cup, although he didn’t make the final cut either time. He is the fourth U.S. international to join MLS from Europe this offseason after Brek Shea (Orlando City), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC) and Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC). All were acquired via allocations.

"This was an extremely complicated transaction that we worked on over the last few weeks," said Red Bull Sporting Director Ali Curtis. "There were multiple variables that needed to be managed during the process. Ultimately, we were able to reach a point where we could bring Sacha aboard.”

Kljestan played 90 games for Anderlecht and also saw UEFA Champions League and Europa League action.

"Sacha is a great player with tremendous experience," said Marsch. "He fits into the style of soccer that we want to play, but more importantly he is a man with tremendous character.”

-- On Thursday, Toronto FC signed French midfielder Benoit Cheyrou, a 33-year-old who has played more than 300 Ligue 1 games, from Marseille, where he has spent his last seven seasons. Cheyrou has played in 39 UEFA Champions League games and during a Ligue 1 career that included stints at Auxerre and Lille scored 28 goals.

2 comments about "Red Bull dealing pays off; Sacha Kljestan arrives ".
  1. beautiful game, January 29, 2015 at 10:28 p.m.

    I was never impressed with Sacha, and IMHO, I doubt he can be the engine on this RB squad.

  2. Tim Gibson, January 30, 2015 at 7:17 a.m.

    I think he could be ok, but this team still has massive holes to fill. Giving up Oyongo hurt, that kid has game for sure.
    The Sasha of old, I agree wasn't very impressive while @ Salt Lake, but his past few MNT matches I thought were much better performances. He'll have Dax there with him & hopefully that'll strengthen the middle more. Expect a LONG season in Harrison!

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