After receiving qualifier call-up, Seattle's Cristian Roldan eyes World Cup

Cristian Roldan - Seattle Sounders - scores vs. San Jose

SEATTLE – Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan won’t be doing much resting during MLS’ international break.

All three Seattle Sounders stars were named to the US national team’s 26-man roster for its looming World Cup qualifiers, first on Friday against Costa Rica (6:30 pm ET | ESPN, Univision, UDN), then on Sept. 5 at Honduras (5:30 pm ET | beIN Sports, NBC Universo). With the Sounders coming off a pair of disappointing Cascadia Cupdraws against the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Portland Timbers, Roldan says a stint with the USMNT might be just what the doctor ordered.

“We haven’t lost in a while but these two ties in a row definitely feels like two losses in a row,” Roldan told reporters following Seattle’s 1-1 deadlock against Portland at CenturyLink Field on Sunday. “Mentally, we’ve got to focus on other things and for me that’s the national team – focusing on playing well with the national team, practicing well and taking advantage of the opportunity given.”

The trio of Dempsey, Morris and Roldan is far from the only international representation for the Sounders in the upcoming qualifiers.

Midfielder Gustav Svensson didn’t take part in Sunday’s match against the Timbers after being granted an early release from the club for his first call-up for the Swedish national team since January 2016. Midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro (Uruguay) and defenders Roman Torres (Panama) Joevin Jones (Trinidad & Tobago), Nouhou Tolo (Cameroon) and Oniel Fisher (Jamaica) round out the group of nine Sounders who will feature at the international level during the break.

For Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer, the hope is that the national team stints will elevate their level of play when they return to the club.

“I’m very proud of the fact that this club has nine internationals,” Schmetzer said on Sunday. “It shows that the organization is acquiring very, very good players that play at a high level. So, that’s something that’s very, very good for me as a coach.

“I’ll use Cristian as an example – when he came back [from the CONCACAF Gold Cup] he really found his form. Jordan was the same way, when he went away for that little break in the Gold Cup, he came back and he had scored some goals and it was good for his confidence.”

Out of Seattle’s US players, it’s Roldan who goes into the qualifiers with the most to prove. The 22-year-old fared well in his first career US appearance against Martinique at the Gold Cup, but hasn’t yet had the opportunity to fully entrench himself in Bruce Arena’s rotation.

Ultimately, Roldan said, his goal for the upcoming qualifiers is to do exactly that – with an eye on eventually making his case for a spot on the team’s 2018 World Cup roster.

“It’s even more of an honor, to be honest,” Roldan said. “You have bigger potential chances to make it to the World Cup roster. That’s a big deal, a big deal for any professional soccer player. For me, I’m going to take it day by day and enjoy it as much as I can but also go in there and try and showcase my talents and showcase how much I want to be there and how much of an effort I’m going to give.”