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Cristian Roldan pleased with USA call-up even if he didn’t play

Sounders midfielder was the least-capped player to be brought up during World Cup qualifiers.

United States v Martinique: Group B - 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

TUKWILA, Wash. — Don’t tell Cristian Roldan that his recent call-up to the United States men’s national team for a pair of World Cup qualifiers was a waste of time.

Like a runner-up for an Oscar, Roldan said was simply an honor to be called in, even if he didn’t so much as make the bench in either game.

“I gained a lot of experience,” Roldan said following Friday’s training session. “There’s a lot of pressure in World Cup qualifying, even more than I anticipated. I saw the conditions in Honduras. I saw how tough it can be to qualify for a World Cup in the CONCACAF region. I practiced with the best guys in the United States.”

Roldan noted that he’s just 22-years-old and has just a single cap. No other player on the recent call-up list had fewer than 12 caps and Kellyn Acosta (15) was the least-capped player to actually feature in either match.

“I was told what my purpose and my goal was supposed to be,” Roldan said, noting that he trained mostly as a No. 8 but was also being prepared for the possibility of playing as a wing back if the USMNT went to a five-man defensive setup. “It’s extremely positive to be even mentioned and brought into World Cup qualifying even though you don’t play.

“At some point I want to be on the field, but until then I need to support and do everything I can to help the team.”

There’s also something to be said for what this kind of call-up can do for a player’s club form. Even though he only featured in one of the four matches during his last call-up, Roldan returned a seemingly more confident player and scored three goals in his first two games back with the Sounders. A reprise performance would be much appreciated.

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