TUKWILA, Wash. — With the Seattle Sounders reduced to 16 healthy outfield players, Cristian Roldan said he did not join the USMNT for a pair of friendlies against Bolivia and Ireland out of a mutual decision with USMNT interim boss Dave Sarachan and Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer.
“We spoke a little bit with Dave, Schmetzer, and myself,” Roldan said following Wednesday’s training session. “We thought it was best that I stay here. Things are rough at the moment here in terms of our standings and our play. To have another guy down, it could drain the team. We thought it was in all of our best interests for me to stay. They’ve had good things to say and I appreciate the honesty.”
Roldan, 22, has three caps for the U.S. national team. The midfielder started creeping into discussions for the Stars and Stripes as his play in MLS turned heads and he won more and more minutes on a competitive roster.
That he would remain in Seattle and forgo the possibility of more time at the international level, even in mere friendlies, speaks to the leadership role the fourth-year player has grown into during his time in Seattle.
Roldan discussed his new leadership role and the possibility of one day being Seattle’s first-choice captain.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily about getting the armband for a couple games,” Roldan said. “I came into this year wanting to take on a new role. It’s time for me to step up.
“I do think I can be the captain of this team in the long run, but that’s not my decision to make. If the armband goes back to Ozzie (Alonso), I’m going to be okay with it. I want to help the team the best way I can. These next couple practices are vital. Having a veteran like myself out there is good for some of the younger players that are getting heavy minutes.”
Schmetzer will certainly be glad to know that he can rely on Roldan with a stretch of matches during which Seattle will want to take advantage. With the prospect of revenge against Real Salt Lake Saturday and a visit by struggling D.C. United June 9, with an Open Cup tie against Sacramento in between those fixtures, the Sounders will hope to start to get their season back on track with Roldan still in the mix.