Sacha Kljestan's last assist for the New York Red Bulls was a beauty: an impeccably weighted through ball that let Bradley Wright-Phillips do what he does best - track the path of the pass until he's ready to fire at goal.
That was the 20th assist Kljestan has tallied for RBNY in MLS regular season games, and he is just the 12th player in the history of the Red Bulls (or MetroStars) to reach that mark for the club. He is also the 12th player in club history to reach 22 assists in all competitions for RBNY. And he has reached that mark at an unprecedented rate (from MetroFanatic.com):
|Name||Games Played||Games Started||Minutes Played||Assists||Assists/90 Minutes Played|
Yes, the statistical standards that define an assist in MLS have changed over time; yes, Sacha Kljestan has benefited from those changes. Still, he is currently averaging close to an assist every other game - and this club has never seen that rate of sustained goal-creating from its most productive playmakers...ever.
And in reaching 22 assists, Kljestan has eased past Roberto Donadoni, an all-time great for the club in the estimation of no less an authority than MetroFanatic.com. Donadoni only played two seasons with the MetroStars - back in 1996 and '97 - but he left a substantive impression. He is in the MetroFanatic Hall of Fame, and the MetroFanatic All-Time XI.
Comparing two players whose tenures at a club are separated by 20 years is not a particularly revealing exercise. And doubtless neither player would invite this comparison. Still, it is worth noting that Kljestan's key performance stats for RBNY stand up quite well next to Donadoni's for the MetroStars:
|Name||Games Played||Games Started||Minutes Played||Assists||Minutes/Assist|
Doesn't mean a great deal other than it is possible to say Sacha Kljestan has done as much (perhaps a little more) for this club as Roberto Donadoni, at least assist-wise, and he has done it in a little less time too.
Congrats, Sacha. On to the next milestone: we'll be watching for it.