Reports out of USMNT January camp indicated that Sebastian Lletget impressed, with other players remarking on his play, and Sacha Kljestan taking Lletget under his wing. Bruce Arena called Jermaine Jones a “beast,” citing that he still has a role to play with US Soccer.
In his first USMNT appearance, Sebastian Lletget produced data to back up the reports, with creativity and urgency in the attack.
From what I've heard, Lletget has been spectacular as a #8 in camp this month. First 2 mins of the 2nd half makes a good argument there.— Matthew Doyle (@MLSAnalyst) January 29, 2017
After a somewhat stagnant attack in the first half, Lletget got the US moving in the second half, lofting a decent cross from the left to Sacha Kljestan for a shot on goal, and demonstrating his ability to control the ball in tight quarters to keep US momentum.
Following the game, Bruce Arena touted Sebastian’s contribution, saying that he made a difference in the second half. He did have one key pass, and his passing percentage was above 85%. Jermaine Jones has similar stats: 1 key pass, though not quite as good a passing percentage.
Lletget also did have a bad giveaway late in the game that forced Rimando into a fantastic save. Bad judgment leading to a bad pass, and hopefully a learning experience.
Lletget didn’t quite have the rapport with Darlington Nagbe that Jermaine Jones had, but he did cover more ground, operating a bit more in the wings than Jones. That said, Jones and Nagbe were the attack for the US in the first half, with particular inventive play from both leading to near misses from Nagbe, and a long range shot from Jones that just missed wide.
For Galaxy fans, they should hope to continue to see Lletget centrally in the #8 role, and they should be pleased that Jones doesn’t appear to have lost any of his engine. Both will have key roles to play with the LA Galaxy this year, and based on this single data point, Galaxy followers should be cautiously optimistic. At the least, both look fit and ready to play.