TUKWILA, Wash. – Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan is in the midst of a career-best season at the club level that has seen him score five goals, add three assists and further entrench himself as one of the top young talents in MLS.
Now, the 22-year-old says his hope is that he can parlay all of that into more opportunities on the international circuit. Roldan procured his first cap for the US national team at this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup and the Americans have a pair of World Cup qualifiers looming at the beginning of September against Costa Rica and Honduras.
“Our hope is that I get called up for these qualifiers,” Roldan told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “Obviously, I can control what I can control and that’s playing well here. But I want to be a bigger part of the national team.
“It would be exciting,” he added. “You feel like you’re contributing to hopefully the team getting to a World Cup. As a young kid, that’s always been my dream to go to a World Cup. We’re not necessarily too far from it, but there’s still a lot of work for us to do to get there.”
Even coming off a successful first run with the US at the Gold Cup, where he started and played all 90 minutes in a 3-2 victory over Martinique, Roldan acknowledged that a spot on the roster for those upcoming qualifiers is far from a sure thing given the quality and volume of the competition.
“There aren’t very many injured guys at the moment at my position,” he said. “So it’ll be interesting to see who gets called up.”
Roldan added that he has yet spoken to US head coach Bruce Arena about his status for the September qualifiers. But given Roldan's recent form with the Sounders, he seems to be making an increasingly strong case.
He has three goals and one assist in five games dating back to Seattle’s wild 4-3 comeback win over D.C. United on July 19 and also has the added allure of being able to play all over the field. Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer has deployed him in a variety of roles this season in addition to his duties as a defensive midfielder, including in an advanced No. 10 role and even as an emergency right back on multiple occasions.
“That shows that I’m a well-rounded player,” Roldan said. “I was playing a little bit more advanced when I scored those goals [for Seattle], so I want to show I can play more than just one position. But it definitely helps going forward. I don’t see myself as a No. 10 for the national team so I just have to play my part here and play my role and hopefully I’ll get another shot.”