SEATTLE – It’s been quite the week for Cristian Roldan.
The Seattle Sounders’ third-year midfielder earned his first US national team cap on July 12, playing 90 minutes in a CONCACAF Gold Cup match against Martinique. Then, in Seattle’s Wednesday evening matchup against D.C. United at CenturyLink Field, he scored the game-winning goal in the Sounders’ wild 4-3 comeback victory that saw them erase a three-goal second-half deficit.
The tally gave the Sounders the largest come-from-behind victory in regulation in MLS history, a nice cherry on top to what Roldan says has been a whirlwind stretch.
“It’s been crazy,” Roldan told reporters after the game. “I sat on the bench [for the USMNT] against Nicaragua [on Saturday] and saw a good 3-0 result. And what an incredible night tonight coming back from a 3-0 deficit.
“Tonight, you saw a total team effort,” he added. “You saw a lot of leaders, guys that were committed to the group in the second half especially. That’s all you can ask for as a teammate – guys that are going to work as hard as you. Luckily I have a big roster that has that.”
Roldan’s exploits on the club level have become commonplace for Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer, who has seen the 22-year-old evolve from a late first-round selection in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft to one of the most indispensable cogs on his team.
But Schmetzer did note after Wednesday’s game that his young midfielder may have had a bit of an extra bounce in his step coming off his first international cap.
“I [didn’t notice anything different] in the soccer department because I’ve seen Cristian play at a high level and I think he deserves to be in that national team conversation,” Schmetzer said. “I think he was just a little more motivated. I felt his one chance before he scored the last goal, some of his attacking movement, I thought those were pretty good.”
Roldan has largely played alongside Osvaldo Alonso as a defensive midfielder since he came to MLS. However, his progression as an attacker has been a notable development this season and was on display with Wednesday’s game-winner.
The tally was Roldan’s third of 2017, bringing him within one of his total from all of last season. Should he continue on that track, plenty more USMNT call-ups could be in his future.
“Cristian has a really, really bright future,” said Schmetzer. “We all know that, we all see it.”