American midfielder Sacha Kljestan's club, Anderlecht, captured its third straight Belgian league title on Sunday. (Virginie Lefour/ZumaPress.com)
Sacha Kljestan might not be in U.S. national team pre-World Cup camp, but he can claim something that none of the 30 players vying for World Cup roster spots can: A third straight club title.
Kljestan's Anderlecht finished off its three-peat, topping Lokeren 3-1 on Sunday to claim another Belgian league title. Kljestan, who finished the season with a career-high nine goals in all competitions, did not play in the playoff finale (former D.C. United star and Honduras World Cup-bound winger Andy Najar went the distance), but he collects his third championship trophy in four years since leaving Chivas USA and MLS for Europe.
After finishing the regular season in third place, Anderlecht went 7-2-1 in the 10-game, six-team playoffs -- including winning its last five matches -- to win the championship and earn a place in next season's Champions League group stage.
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Will Kljestan be joining Les Mauves there? Recent reports have linked him with a return to MLS, some specifically with the LA Galaxy and New England Revolution. If that is to be the case, a transfer fee or buyout will be required, because Kljestan's contact lasts through June 2016.
On a personal level, his season did not end in an ideal way, with him becoming a reserve for the majority of 2014 after losing his regular place in the lineup (something that may well have cost him his ticket to California this week). Overall, it had highlights, though. In addition to his eight league goals, Kljestan scored in the Champions League group stage, becoming the fifth American to do so, joining Jovan Kirovski, DaMarcus Beasley, Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones.
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He also had a memorable mini-spat with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the Champions League, taking a verbal shot at the PSG star's nose in response to Ibra's comment about his mustache following a hard tackle.