Cristian Roldan’s place in the United States men’s national team is still far from settled, but he was named to the preliminary roster for the upcoming Concacaf Gold Cup. Of course, that’s not really saying much at this point as there are 60 names — all but eight of whom play in MLS — included. That list will need to be cut down to 23 by the end of the month.
Roldan would seem to be a solid bet to be on that final list — MLSsoccer.com and The Athletic both predict he will make it — but his place in the team is far from set. Roldan has just a single cap — earlier this year in a friendly against Trinidad & Tobago — since playing for the USMNT in a 2019 Nations League match against Cuba. He was disappointed not to have been included in the most recent round of call-ups around the Nations League finals.
“You want to participate in all the tournaments and all the national team games,” Roldan said on Thursday. “It’s been tough not to be part of the team the last couple of games. I’m extremely happy for how they’re doing and I’ll be their biggest supporter, but you want to play in the big games.”
Part of the challenge is likely that Roldan plays different roles for the USMNT and Sounders. This year, at least, Roldan has played almost exclusively as a No. 10 and is a focal point of the offense. With the national team, he’s played mostly deeper and often with more of the “B” team. Roldan’s versatility is part of what has kept him in Brian Schmetzer’s starting lineup, but may not be helping him in the eyes of USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter.
“As a professional soccer player, you can only focus on what you’re doing in Seattle,” he said. “It’s not your decision at the end of the day. If I’m playing well, that’s the decision [Berhalter] has to make. I’d be happy to go because it’s such an honor and I believe I still have a lot to offer. I just have to continue playing well and doing my part with the Sounders.”
Preliminary USMNT Gold Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (5): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
DEFENDERS (19): Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), George Bello (Atlanta United), Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur), Justin Che (FC Dallas), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls), Chase Gasper (Minnesota United), Jonathan Gomez (Louisville City), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake), Henry Kessler (New England Revolution), Shaq Moore (CD Tenerife), Erik Palmer-Brown (Manchester City), Kevin Paredes (D.C. United), Donovan Pines (D.C. United), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), James Sands (New York City FC), Auston Trusty (Colorado Rapids), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)
MIDFIELDERS (18): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Cole Bassett (Colorado Rapids), Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Caden Clark (New York Red Bulls), Leon Flach (Philadelphia Union), Julian Green (Greuther Fürth), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montreal), Moses Nyeman (D.C. United), Andres Perea (Orlando City), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Memo Rodriguez (Houston Dynamo), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United), Tanner Tessman (FC Dallas), Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)
FORWARDS (17): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Frankie Amaya (FC Cincinnati), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Corey Baird (Colorado Rapids), Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes), Daryl Dike (Orlando City), Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen), Matthew Hoppe (Schalke), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Rubio Rubin (Real Salt Lake), Chris Mueller (Orlando City), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas), Robbie Robinson (Inter Miami CF), Mason Toye (CF Montreal), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)