USA-Sweden Friendly

Sacha Kljestan

Sacha Kljestan

The United States Men’s National Soccer Team kicked off their 2009 schedule with a 3-2 victory over Sweden yesterday in Carson, California.  Sacha Kljestan scored all three goals for the Americans, the first three in his career.

The game was missing the big stars like Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, but it gave a chance for the youngsters to show what they were capable of doing.  Six of the starters had less than five appearances and two, GK Troy Perkins and M Robbie Rogers, earned their first ever.

Though the scoreline seemed close, the game really wasn’t.  USA carried the play, earning more and better chances than the Swedes.  The two Swedish goals came beyond the 74th minute and I never felt like the game was in any real doubt.  All in all, it was a decent performance from USA’s B-team.

The USA started their 2008 campaign with a 2-0 win over the same Swedish side.

Let’s return for a second to Mr. Kljestan.  His hat trick was the 11th in US history (the TV broadcast said 12th last night, the US website says 11th) and he was the second player to score his first three goals in one game.  Aldo “Buff” Donelli was the first in 1934 and I know we all remember him.

Kljestan’s first goal was a rocket free kick that kind of surprised everyone.  It was as good of a free kick as you’ll see.  The second was a penalty kick and the third was made possible by a great touch from Brian Ching.  Kljestan clearly had the best match for the Americans, he probably earned himself more playing time in the upcoming qualifiers.

The next match is the first of those qualifiers on February 11th against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio.  That match should be a great one and it will be important for the Americans to have a strong start in their bid to qualify for South Africa in 2010.

Here are some highlights from last night’s game:

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8 Responses

  1. Thanks for the comment. Kljestan obviously stood out the most, I wouldn’t be surprised if he started against Mexico. I also thought Wynne had a very good game, he’s got a lot of speed to use.

    I thought Ching played well, but Davies looked rather out of his element. Even though Ching did decently well, the US didn’t exactly create a lot of chances.

    How do you think the US will do against Mexico?

  2. I can’t pick against the US.

    We’ll have the full squad together, and we haven’t lost to them at home since 1999, I think, so that bodes well for us. In fact, we’ve played them in Columbus twice over that span and beat them 2-0 both times. In fact, the more I look at the recent history in this rivalry, the more lopsided it gets.

    I’m glad to see we’re playing somewhere north of Houston. If it were up to me, we’d be playing in Seattle or Minneapolis or somewhere equally northern and cold. Need to get any advantage possible. Hopefully the folks in Ohio fill the stands. I was thinking about getting tickets and driving the 8 hours to go, but it’s probably not going to happen.

    Your thoughts?

  3. Hey Bryan, if you can get ahold of some tickets I’d be up for going along with you… just to throw that out there.

  4. Tickets sold out in 90 minutes. I didn’t get any.

  5. Kljestan’s hat trick against a weak Sweden side is getting more attention than it deserves. Kljestan stock is up on the heels of this performance but he will never be more than a mediocre player. He doesn’t have the touch, vision or passing ability of a player like Michael Bradley, who Kljestan will never be able to start in front of (nepotism is not a factor). Bradley looks to be fixture for the national team for a long time to come if he can continue to mature and keep his head in the game for a full 90 and avoid foolish tackles.

  6. Jeff-
    I agree with you to an extent, but a hat trick against international competition is still impressive. Plus, we haven’t had much to talk about on the National Team front.

    I’m not sure I’m ready to declare him a mediocre player just yet. He won’t be a superstar, but he may just a serviceable attacking midfielder.

    You assessment of Michael Bradley is right on though. Keeping his head in the game and avoiding the lunging tackles is essential if he wants to make an impact.

    Thanks for the comment

  7. Sacha did great job for USA and he played superb as a starand cicked three goals. It was great victory of USA against Sweden. Luck did not with Sweden and much chance have down by Swedish Player.

  8. Yeah Swiss player put down lot of chance to goal and result is gone favour to USA, and they were deserve for this victory against a good euripian team.

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