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LISTEN: Is there really beef between Yura Movsisyan and Mike Petke? Maybe. The guys break down everything you need to know about Week 16, then Sounders duo Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan join Andrew to chat about being BFFs, MLS Cup and the possibility of teaming up at Gold Cup for the US national team. Subscribe so you never miss a show!
NEW YORK – Cristian Roldan finally has his shot.
The Seattle Sounders’ third-year midfielder got some long-awaited clarity regarding his international future earlier this month, after he was named to the preliminary 40-man roster for the US national team ahead of this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup. The 22-year-old University of Washington product is eligible through his parents to represent both El Salvador and Guatemala and previously had dialogue about the prospect of representing both countries.
Speaking to reporters after Seattle’s 2-1 defeat to New York City FC on Saturday in which he scored his team’s only goal, Roldan said his mentality is now squarely set on making the jump from the preliminary roster to the final one.
“Obviously, you want to make that final squad for the Gold Cup,” Roldan said. “That’s something that you do think about. But you try not to let it affect your game. Honestly, it may even help your game because you want to showcase your talent, you want to showcase what you can bring to the table.
“For me, it’s just being a smart player and being consistent in that manner,” he added. “Hopefully I can make that final roster.”
Making the preliminary roster represents another step in the development of Roldan, who has become an invaluable week-to-week cog in Seattle’s starting XI.
After playing as an attacker at UW, Roldan has largely been deployed as a defensive midfielder in MLS where he’s learned from one of the masters of the trade in veteran teammate Osvaldo Alonso. It’s a role Roldan says he’s embraced, although -- as he showed on Saturday -- his development as a two-way threat is one of the things that has turned him into a tantalizing USMNT prospect.
“I feel like I don’t go up as much [with Seattle] this year, mainly because we have so many good players going forward. I don’t really need to,” Roldan said. “My role is a little bit more defensive.
“But if I’m smart on the ball and I take my chances and take them well, I want to be clinical in front of goal and bury that one chance.”
Roldan did that against NYCFC on Saturday, cashing home a breakaway finish at a waterlogged Yankee Stadium that very nearly helped procure Seattle a road result. With the Gold Cup looming, the next step will be proving himself to head coach Bruce Arena when the US opens training camp for the tournament on June 25.
“He does all the little things that a lot of times you don’t see,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “Today [against New York], people are going to say, ‘Oh, that was a great goal. He intercepted the pass, he took it well.’
“But he does a lot of other things. He covers space for other guys, he connects the first pass that gets out to the next pass that leads to a break. He does a lot of little things, little dirty things that need to be done to win games.”