Tale of the tape: Cronin the immovable object v. Kljestan the unstoppable force

Two sides which got off to winning starts last weekend will meet this Saturday when Colorado Rapids head to Red Bull Arena to face New York Red Bulls (UniMas 2:00 p.m. MT).

With the Rapids boasting the meanest defense in all of MLS last year (32) up against the side with the second most goals (61) and best goal difference (+17) of 2016, it is a case of an immovable object standing in the way of an unstoppable force.

Two key figures in the respective success of these sides last season were Sam Cronin and Sacha Kljestan. Both are captains of their teams, and both were pillars of consistency throughout the previous campaign.

Kljestan has 35 assists in 66 games since returning to MLS in 2015. He makes things happen for the Red Bulls - a side which finished top of the Eastern Conference in 2016. Cronin, on the other hand, is often the player trying to subdue the opposition's creative thinking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vs.

Sam Cronin

Name

Sacha Kljestan

6

No.

16

Midfield

Position

Midfield

30

Age

31

5’10”

Height

6’1”

165lbs

Weight

170lbs

USA

Nationality

USA

2009

Drafted

2006

9th season

MLS Experience

8th season

233

Appearances

180

8

Goals

29

Canadian Championship (2009, 2010), Supporters’ Shield (2012), MLS All-Star (2015)

Honors

MLS Best XI (2008, 2016), Supporters’ Shield (2015), MLS All-Star (2008*, 2016)
*Missed due to Olympic Games

Cronin is a veteran holding midfielder in MLS. Having played for three teams in the league - Toronto FC, San Jose Earthquakes and Colorado Rapids - he is a steady presence in the middle of the park and tends to do the dirty work for his team. In 2016 he enjoyed a career year, helping the Rapids set defensive records.

What they say …

One of the best central midfielders in MLS, has played as a true attacking center mid since returning to the league with New York. Has always had great creativity and passing ability putting up multiple double digit assist seasons, including a league-leading 20 in 2016. Can also play deeper as a box-to-box midfielder as he did with Anderlecht and the USMNT.

 


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