SEATTLE — Cristian Roldan is apparently tired of letting his teammates grab all the headlines for flashy goals. It seems to be the only explanation for why the defensive midfielder has powered in two-long range blasts in as many matches for the Sounders, including a game-winner against Houston Saturday night.
It could also be that the 23-year-old is rounding into offensive form for Seattle out of a desire to silence his doubters within the club.
“It’s good banter within the locker room,” Roldan said, laughing. “Jordan (Morris), Chad (Marshall), a lot of guys told me I’m a poacher, I’m a guy that scores inside the box. Stef (Frei) is that one guy that believes in me. Since my rookie year, he’s been telling me ‘shoot more, shoot more. You’ve got a good shot.’ He’s been rewarded, I think, for all that he has been telling me. Credit to Stef for encouraging me and giving me confidence to shoot the ball.”
Locker room jokes aside, Roldan has been rounding into form for Seattle at a time when the club had been stagnating offensively. His past two goals have earned the Sounders four points and ended a four-match winless streak Saturday.
Roldan thinks the goal in Minnesota has improved his confidence and willingness to pull the trigger.
“When I saw that ball in the air my first thought was ‘I’m going to shoot this ball,’” Roldan said. “Then there was a second play where Brad (Smith) passed to me and I thought I was going to shoot as soon as I turned it. You feel like you’re on a roll, now maybe next game I’ll shoot two more shots. It gives me a lot of confidence and leeway with my teammates. They think I can score those, so they’re going to be okay with me shooting those shots more.
“It’s always interesting because goals don’t really come that often. My job first and foremost is to keep possession and the ball down, play as steady as possible. When you score a few goals, you feel like you’re helping the team in a bigger way.”
Roldan still put in work in a defensive effort that limited Houston to one shot on goal. The midfielder finished with five recoveries, a block, a tackle won and a clearance as Seattle kept its fourth clean sheet of the season.
With Roldan chipping in on offense, the Sounders seem poised to continue their climb up the Western Conference standings.
The only question left is will this one win Goal of the Week, after he narrowly missed out last week?
“We’ll see, right?” Roldan said. “We’ll let the public decide. Maybe I can squeeze in there and get goal of the week, though (there were other good goals today). Regardless, I was happy we got the three points.”