In his rookie year Cristian Roldan looked like he belonged as a professional soccer player. Other teams doubted his ability to play as a defensive midfielder in MLS with size being their main concern. Seattle Sounders traded up to get him and could have a good to great central midfielder for years to come.
Rank: 16 | Age: 20 | Starts: 16 | Appearances: 30 for 1603 minutes | Bench: 22 | Goals: 0 | Assists: 1
all comps, 1st team
Solid passer in tight spaces with good vision. Does not look to shoot, even when he has space in range. Long passes need to improve. Good with a dribble, not tricky, but able to spin away from single defenders, almost Ozzie-like. When covered by two he will lose the ball. Best when central, but can work wide if moving centrally. Should not be part of set-pieces, instead should hover in a space where he can pick up a deflection and re-insert into danger.
Strong tackler with good positioning. Roldan is a classic ball-winner who is converting from a a mostly-attacking role in college to be one of MLS' better young defensive mid prospects. Rarely out of position and good range that helps delay counters. Uses his small body well, and can body bigger frames in set-piece situations.
A small player willing to go in hard, Cristian has the speed to succeed at the MLS level.
Best Case 2016:
Roldan improved rapidly in 2015 and in 2016 could be challenging for starting spots on preference, not just as an injury fall back.
I am to write a bunch of these over my last Sounders free weekend of 2016.