MICHAEL ADUBATO - Monday, July 7, 2014
Having missed out on a place on the national team for the World Cup, American Sacha Kljestan has returned to Belgium and is training with defending champions Anderlecht.
After a scoreless tie against RAEC Mons, a team that was relegated in May to the second division, over the weekend Yanks Abroad caught up with the Seton Hall alumni.
"We still have some work to do," Kljestan said after Anderlecht's mediocre performance. "Next week in Austria, I think, will be a good training camp for us."
So far les Mauves have only had a few pre-season games against lower league Belgian teams.
"While there (in Austria), we'll have a good game against Dinamo Kiev. We also have a lot of young players so we have to integrate them into the team in order to be ready (for the new season)."
The Californian has seen limited playing time under Besnik Hasi, the Albanian assistant coach who replaced John van den Brom as head coach in March. Because of this there has been speculation that the 28-year-old former Chivas USA man may be heading out the doors of Constant van den Stock Stadium.
"I have no idea what's going to happen," Kljestan said. "So I'm just trying to prepare as if I will be here. But if a transfer comes about we'll look at it. For now, I'm trying to prepare like I will be here this season. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. I have a great life in Belgium and Anderlecht is a great club to play for so, you never say never to anything."
When asked about the rumors linking him to both LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer and KRC Genk of the Belgian Pro League, his response was simply, "we'll see."
Regarding the national team's performance at the World Cup, the midfielder was very proud of them.
"They worked hard," he stated. "They got a little bit unlucky in the very end against Belgium but overall they made the country very proud."
Anderlecht will head down to Austria for their camp and after returning to Belgium will play a friendly against Niko Gkionis' former employers, Royal Liege before getting the new season underway. Les Mauves will start their title defense on July 27th when they welcome newly promoted Mouscron-Peruwelz to Brussels for a Sunday afternoon kick-off, with or without their American midfielder.