ANDREW MINTZ - Thursday, January 29, 2015
Following in the footsteps of other Americans during the winter transfer period, Sacha Kljestan secured a return to Major League Soccer and a place in which he used to play.
On Wednesday, the former Seton Hall Pirate joined the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday from Belgian-team Anderlecht via the allocation order, which the Red Bulls owned after a trade on Tuesday.
"This was an extremely complicated transaction that we worked on over the last few weeks," Red Bulls sporting director Ali Curtis said in a statement. "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."
The Red Bulls traded defender Ambroise Oyongo and midfielder Eric Alexander to Montreal on Tuesday to get the top spot in the allocation order, bypassing the LA Galaxy, to sign the California native, Kljestan. New York also received Brazilian midfielder Felipe in the trade.
The move will reunite Kljestan with the state where he enjoyed his college soccer, New Jersey, having starred for the Seton Hall for three years before signing a Generation Adidas contract and being selected fifth in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft in 2006.
After five thriving seasons with Chivas USA, Kljestan garnered the attention of a handful of European clubs, eventually electing to sign with top Belgian team, Anderlecht. The Californian native won the Belgian Pro League three times and participated in 20 UEFA Champions League matches during his time there, the third most by American.
While making 46 appearances with the United States, the 29-year-old midfielder hasn't represented the U.S. at the World Cup, missing the roster in 2010 and 2014. He did play in the 2008 Beijing Olympics when the U.S. didn't advance out of the group stage.