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Cristian Roldan makes Opta’s Best XI

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Midfielder was among the best at winning possession.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

Each year, Cristian Roldan seems to hit a new level. From pleasantly surprising rookie campaign to automatic starter by Year 2 and now a regular with the United States national team. Where once he was one of the best bargains in the league, last offseason he got a massive raise that more closely aligned with his role on the team.

Now he’s been recognized by Opta in their Best XI.

Although Opta doesn’t really explain their decision, SoundersFC.com shared some of the underlying data.

Despite playing as a wide midfielder for significant portions of the season, Roldan was one of just three midfielders to win possession more than 200 times, win possession in the final third over 20 times and complete at least 85 percent of his passes.

He also tied a career high with six goals and his five assists were the second most of his career. Perhaps more impressively, both were career highs on a per-minute basis after playing fewer minutes than in any season since his rookie campaign.