TUKWILA, Wash. — For Cristian Roldan, the Gold Cup final was a special game. He wasn’t on the field for the USA, but it was the culmination of his first international tournament as a part of the squad.
Roldan’s Gold Cup went something like this: a solid 90 minute shift against Martinique in the group stage, sent home to make way for team stalwarts, watched from Seattle, and ultimately returned to the squad for the final match as a fan with benefits (such as getting a medal and partaking in celebrations on the field and in the locker room).
Cristian Roldan doesn’t miss many minutes in games, which made watching the final from the stands a strange occurrence, but he was just excited to be a part of the team and celebrations. “It was a little bit weird celebrating with the guys and not being part of that final game, but I definitely felt part of the team and all the guys were very welcoming. We made really good relationships from the time that I was there, so yeah, I definitely felt a part of the team, but it was a little bit weird not playing that final game.”
While taking in the game from the crowd, Cristian got to celebrate best friend Jordan Morris’s 88th minute game winner like a fan: “I stood up and screamed, gave a lot of hugs to the people I was sitting next to. I was just really proud of him.”
Us too, Cristian, us too.
Following the final whistle, Jorstian Mordan shared an emotional embrace that made the nation swoon. The few games apart from each other certainly did not dim their friendship. “He [Jordan Morris] tied the golden boot winner, so I’m extremely excited for him. He’s an extremely blessed person. He has a good family and has a lot of good people around him, so I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
The energy spilled into the locker rooms with celebrations fitting of an international trophy. It may not have been the World Cup, but being a part of a cup-winning team in your first stint with the national team is certainly a special occasion. “It was really cool because you got to represent a nation. Just playing in a final is a big deal, but winning it at home was even a bigger deal. For us, we were happy that three Sounders players were able to be there.”
This is Roldan’s second cup final in 7 months, both with Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey by his side, and his record is pretty good. “I’m technically two for two in trophies and two for two with those guys, so hopefully we can win many more trophies together.”
And, beneficial for Sounders fans, he has no intention of slowing down on his quest for trophies. "Hopefully, this is just the start of a long career and just a lot of trophies, both international and domestically.”