The Sounders may be 5-0-1 and off to their best start in the history of their MLS franchise. But to hear Roldan tell it, it’s the next week that will show who the Sounders really are.
Seattle are slated to take on the league’s other hottest team, LAFC, twice in one week, starting with a road matchup at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday (7 pm ET | FS1, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada). The Sounders will then host the San Jose Earthquakes at home the following Wednesday, before LAFC come to town for a follow-up bout between Western Conference sides at CenturyLink Field on April 28.
“I do believe the next week will define us,” Roldan said after the TFC victory. “We have three games coming up. We have LAFC away, San Jose at home, LAFC at home, so three difficult, difficult games. So, hopefully we can rotate the squad and be healthy and compete in all three games.
“But, for me, if we’re going to have a statement, it’s going to be in this three-game week.”
LAFC, who will first play Vancouver Whitecap FC on Wednesday (10 pm ET | TSN 1/3, MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US), have an open week before the rematch. The twin meetings could hardly be set up for more intrigue.
Both teams are playing dynamic attacking soccer, with LAFC scoring 21 goals in their first six games to Seattle’s 14. Both teams have conceded only five times, both less than a goal per contest.
Something will have to give, and if one team clearly emerges on top, they could stake claim as the best team in MLS.
“When you’re playing on the road against a really quality team, against a [Carlos] Vela who’s in top form right now, it’s always going to be a difficult game,” Roldan said. “But if you defend well first and foremost, you give yourself a chance to win a game, and then, obviously, taking advantage of the opportunities that we get. There were a couple times we could have gone up 2-1 earlier than we did [against Toronto], so hopefully we can take advantage of those opportunities given and play a good game against very tough opponents.”
The Sounders could benefit from the return of striker Raul Ruidiaz, who has missed the team’s last two games with a foot injury. Will Bruin scored a brace in Ruidiaz's absence Saturday, but the Peruvian has proven to be one of the league’s top finishers since he signed last season. Spanning both league and playoff appearances, he has 16 goals in 20 games.
Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said Ruidiaz was close to playing against Toronto, and should be ready by next weekend.
“Raul was very close,” Schmetzer said. “That was a gameday decision when he walked in the locker room. We have been treating him for the bruise on the bottom on his foot and he is very, very close. We had to make a tough decision today, [and] we decided against it. But he should be ready for the weekend.”