New York Red Bulls acquire Sacha Kljestan from Anderlecht

The 29-year-old midfielder returns to Major League Soccer after joining Anderlecht in 2010.

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HARRISON, N.J. — 

American midfielder Sacha Kljestan is returning to Major League Soccer with the New York Red Bulls.

New York said Wednesday it had acquired the 29-year-old on a transfer from Belgium’s Anderlecht. He is likely will take over the midfield role held by Tim Cahill, who was benched during the second half of last season and is expected to leave.

The Red Bulls announced the move in Orlando, Florida, where they are training for their March 8 opener at Kansas City.

Kljestan has four goals in 46 international appearances and also scored twice at the 2008 Olympics. He was on the 2010 preliminary World Cup roster but was among the final seven cuts, then was bypassed for last year’s tournament.

A native of Huntington Beach, California, Kljestan broke into MLS in 2006 with Chivas USA, then moved in June 2010 to Anderlecht. He appeared in the Champions League for the Belgium club and had a career-high nine goals last season.

New York completed the move by using the top spot in the MLS allocation order, which the club acquired in a trade with Montreal on Tuesday.

”Sacha is a great player with tremendous experience,” Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch said. ”We feel that he is a great addition to our roster. He fits into the style of soccer that we want to play, but more importantly he is a man with tremendous character. We are excited to add him to the club and feel that his presence will pay dividends both on the field and in the locker room.”

Marsch and Kljestan were teammates at Chivas USA from 2006-09, and Kljestan was part of U.S. rosters when Marsch served as an assistant to Bob Bradley.

Kljestan moved to Anderlecht in June 2010, making 90 league appearances.

The Red Bulls agreed Tuesday to contracts with a trio of defenders: former Wolverhampton player Ronald Zubar, New Yorker Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Damien Perrinell. They also acquired midfielder Felipe from Montreal for left back Ambroise Oyongo and midfielder Eric Alexander.