As any Orlando City and MLS fan should know, Sacha Kljestan is one of the best midfielders in the United States soccer world and the current assist leader in the country, two times in a row. With this said, it’s pretty clear he is a very important player; however, he might be much more transcendental than we think.
After two home matches for the Lions and not even a win, the 2018 season started pretty disappointing. It was clear to any football fan how the Lions lacked a CAM on the field in the defeat against Minnesota United, which managed to close well on the back and resist all the long shots and sterile crosses to the box.
In DC United’s match, Orlando City was pure commitment and offensive mentality when they were down by 1, both a goal and a player. An outstanding performance by all the purple pieces on the field defined a glorious tie. However, before this amazing rush of adrenaline, Orlando City could not find a weak spot in the rival’s defense and felt obligated to make crosses to hope or a wild ball.
On the other hand, the urge for a precise creative midfielder was shown even more when Yotún, Johnson, Laryea and Meram could not break Minnesota’s defense and struggled to create clear chances.
Players such as Justin Meram cover this offensive need sometimes but they lack the continuous seek of a vertical, precise and dangerous pass any football team requires. For instance, Meram made the key pass for the late equalizer against DC United but failed to keep this aspect in the following match. Nevertheless, he is, as OrlandoLionsDen told before, a very important piece of the club.
This desperate need for clear opportunities in the latest game left a particular point to analyze: Kljestan, or any decent pure CAM, is needed. His return is not only important because the player he is, but due to the imperative necessity the Lions demonstrate when building up a chance.
Regarding the former NY Red Bulls’ player (and hopefully Josué Colmán when he is ready), his presence on the next match might solve this particular inconvenient the Lions suffered last time. A footballer well-known for a marvelous right foot with an already-proven quality as Kljestan is what Orlando City needed to obtain more than 1 out of 6 points against two of the weakest MLS sides.
For sure, it will be needed to survive the following matches.
Christian Higuita’s presence on the field could have been a better choice for the Minnesota’s match since the Colombian is the other creative midfielder Orlando City has at hand. Choosing Rocha over the South American did not feel as the right choice for the game’s pace and scoresheet.
His offensive capacities could have helped the Lions to create more danger on the rival’s side of the field due to his good passing abilities and his great vision. However, speculations are the only material we have to analyze his potential contribution.