Of late, however, the LA Galaxy veteran has been doing his level best to make sure that he stays in the fold for head coach Gregg Berhalter ahead of the Concacaf Gold Cup and World Cup Qualifying. Lletget struck for two more goals in the USMNT’s 4-1 victory in Thursday’s friendly against Jamaica, putting the match away with a pair of insurance tallies that give him four goals in his last four senior caps.
“I got a lot of questions this week about Sebastian Lletget and what do I see in Sebastian Lletget,” Berhalter said after the match. “And I think his performance spoke for itself tonight, for sure. Really, really good player, really technical player, reads the game well and is able to arrive in the penalty box and finish his opportunities.”
At 28, Lletget is still in his prime, but has become something of an elder statesman in a pool that is built around young cogs like Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Gio Reyna and Sergino Dest, all of whom are under the age of 23.
“It’s funny, man, in all honesty it’s been a pleasure playing alongside those guys,” Lletget said on his postgame video call. “I think Serge has been amazing, Christian has just gone up another gear in his career, Weston as well, it’s just a joy to play with these guys.
“I do think, as far as the coaching staff, we’ve built a good trust and I think the trust they’ve put in me, it gives me confidence. Anytime I step on the field I know what I have to do and they make my role really clear, so I think that helps me as a player and the type of player that I am. As far as headlines, I know people think that I would love such a thing but honestly I’m pretty low-key. Honestly, more power to my teammates, I hope they keep getting the limelight because they deserve it.”
Lletget said the recent run of strong form in international play has simply been about his increased familiarity and comfort level with Berhalter’s system, and his role within it. Looking ahead to the rest of a busy year for the program, stringing together more performances like Thursday’s could go a long way in ensuring he stays in the picture.
“It’s been a process,” he said. “When Gregg got the job, I was lucky enough to be part of that group when he started to first integrate his style of play. At first, it was difficult, and I think it’s just been a slow progressive process for me. Now you’re seeing more of an understanding, a player that understands his role in this team. But it’s taken time. It might seem like it just happened like that, but it’s taken a long time for me to study and really get better at it. He’s opened my mind to how I can affect the game in a much more effective way.”