Midfielder Cristian Roldan broke through as a rookie in 2015 under Sigi Schmid, and he thinks the former Sounders head coach should get a nice ovation from Seattle supporters when he makes his return to CenturyLink on Sunday for the first time since he was fired by the club last summer.
“I think it’ll be interesting. I think our fans appreciate everything that he did for this club, he didn’t miss the playoffs once, [winning] Open Cups, you name it this guy has done everything for this club,” Roldan told reporters in a video posted to SoundersFC.com. “For me I was very proud to be part of his team … [and] to have him be part of my development. He was the one that gave me the chance, and I think it should be a very warm welcome because he deserves it.”
Sunday’s match will be Roldan’s first since returning to Seattle following his stint with the US national team for their World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and at Honduras. Though he didn’t make the game day roster for either match, the 22-year-old still took positives out of the experience, his first in World Cup qualifying.
“There’s a lot of pressure in the World Cup qualifiers, much more than I anticipated,” he said. “I saw the conditions at Honduras, I saw how tough it can be to qualify for a World Cup in the CONCACAF region and I gained a lot of experience with that. I practiced with the best guys in the United States which is another thing – it’s a speed of play which we don’t get here and in the international level it’s big. I was just very proud to be there and I was the biggest cheerleader when I was in the stands.”
Roldan, who primarily lines up as a holding midfielder for Seattle, also offered some hints as to where USMNT head coach Bruce Arena sees him playing with the national team.
“Defensive mid, No. 8, I don’t play too much out on the wing or a little bit more attacking, but [Arena] did mention something along the lines of right wing back if we had to play in a 5-3-2 or 5-4-1,” Roldan said. “But he mainly sees me at center mid. And obviously if something happens and I’m needed at right back, that’s an option.”