TUKWILA, Wash.—For the Seattle Sounders’ sibling midfield duo of Cristian and Alex Roldan, Seattle’s road fixture with LAFC on Sunday (9 pm ET | FS1 – Full TV & streaming info) carries a bit of extra weight.
The Roldan brothers originally made their names as dominant high school stars in Pico Rivera, California, about 30 minutes outside of Los Angeles. Their exploits there eventually saw Cristian become Seattle’s first-round MLS SuperDraft pick in 2015 out of the University of Washington, and he has since established himself as one of the league’s top young midfielders.
Alex, meanwhile, just kicked off his rookie campaign with the Sounders after a standout four-year run at Seattle University. Coming off a strong preseason, he has found himself in Seattle’s starting XI in two of the team’s first five MLS matches and bagged his first career assist in the Sounders’ 2-2 away draw against Sporting Kansas City on April 15.
“I think [Alex] is proving himself. I don’t think people necessarily see him as my brother anymore,” Cristian said Thursday, at Seattle’s practice at Starfire Soccer Complex. “He’s his own player, he got here for a reason. He’s playing extremely well. What surprises me is the amount of confidence he has as a rookie. Not many players come into this league and feel like they can impact the game in a positive way right from the get-go. Alex is capable of doing that and hopefully he can learn and gain experience from the chances he’s had.”
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With Sunday’s match against LAFC representing a homecoming for the duo and plenty of family friends set to be watching or in attendance, Alex said there are some mixed emotions that will come with the return to his old stomping grounds.
“It’ll be a bittersweet feeling, being home in front of some family and friends,” Alex told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “It’s been a while since we’ve been back there playing, especially at this level. Cristian has had his fair share of games there but for me it’ll be a bittersweet moment.
“Previous years, I’ve been a spectator in those games watching Cristian play, so it’ll be nice to share that feeling with him and hopefully we’ll have a big crowd out there for us.”
As for exactly how much of the Roldan family contingent will be on hand at LAFC’s new Banc of California Stadium on Sunday, Cristian said that the game selling out has thrown those plans for a bit of the loop, but that his goal is to try and wrangle a way to get as many in as possible.
“It’s sold out so we’ll see how many [tickets] I can get,” Cristian said. “I have a big family so I’m hoping for a lot but I’m trying not to get my hopes up.
“I’ve said it many times, Seattle is my second home and I love playing here but there’s nothing like playing in front of your family. Hopefully they can experience that and experience it for many years to come.”