He's not slowing down.
Two assists against Toronto FC in the New York Red Bulls' 14th game of the 2016 MLS regular season put Sacha Kljestan's tally for this year into double-digits: he is the league's leading assist-maker with 10 for the season to date. Indeed, as of May 28, Kljestan had double the total number of assists of any of his closest playmaking rivals in the league:
If he doesn't slow down, he is on pace to become just the second player in the history of MLS to break 20 assists in a single regular season. As things stand, he is threatening RBNY's all-time single-season league assists record (14 - a record he tied last year, so already has a hand on); his current rate of goal creating suggests he will challenge Thierry Henry's all-time, all-competitions single-season club record for assists too (19 - set in 2014; in 2015, Kljestan matched Clint Mathis' second-best all-time, all-competitions effort with 16 total assists for RBNY).
But all of that is hypothetical, reliant on Kljestan staying fit and in form, and having reliable scorers on the end of his crosses and passes.
What is not hypothetical is that Kljestan has hurtled up RBNY's all-time list of assist-makers at an extraordinary rate. His 9th and 10th assists of this MLS season were his 25th and 26th in all competitions for RBNY. And 26 all-competitions assists puts Kljestan among the club's top 10 assist-makers of all time. Per MetroFanatic's statistics archive:
|Name||Games Played||Games Started||Minutes Played||Assists||Minutes/Assist|
What is remarkable about Kljestan's achievement is the extraordinary haste with which he has breached the ranks of RBNY's all-time most productive goal creators. He is averaging an assist every 176 minutes: one every two games, basically. Of the team's all-time most prolific assist-makers, the closest to that sort of productivity is Thierry Henry's record of an assist every 235 minutes: in the ballpark of one every three games.
The way statistics are assessed often changes over time, and that is particularly true of assists in MLS, which seem to have become subject to increasingly generous interpretations of what constitutes a "secondary assist" in particular. But that isn't Kljestan's concern, nor that of any supporter of RBNY.
All that really needs to be acknowledged right now is that Sacha Kljestan continues to produce assists for this club at an unprecedented rate, and is now firmly established among RBNY's all-time elite class of goal-makers.
In addition to charging into the club's all-time, all-competitions assist-making top 10, Kljestan has also moved up a couple on notches on RBNY's all-time list for regular season assists: he's now on the brink of cracking the top five of that particular category (with 24 career league assists for the Red Bulls). And his minutes/assist average is even better if you eliminate US Open Cup and playoff appearances: his 24 regular-season assists have arrived at a rate of one every 166 minutes.
One does not, of course, judge a creative player purely by the rate at which teammates manage to convert their passes into goals - but that is a substantial measure of creativity on a soccer field, and a measure by which Kljestan is currently excelling for RBNY.