For whatever reason, Cristian Roldan seems to have a precarious spot on the United States national team. Despite regularly turning in near Best XI performances for the Seattle Sounders, he’s never really got an extended run at the international level.
True to form, he did not even play in the United States’ Gold Cup opener against Haiti. Given a chance to start against Martinique on Thursday, however, he made the most of his opportunity.
In addition to notching his first career international assist, Roldan had passes that unlocked the defense on two other goals and finished tied for the team lead with four key passes while playing as one of two attacking midfielders in Gregg Berhalter’s 3-4-2-1. Roldan was active most of the night, making runs that opened up space, winning five corners, completing 28 of 32 passes and generally looking like one of the most effective players in a 6-1 romp.
For all the Roldan haters out there I kept a little log for you. You’re welcome. #GoldCup21 #USMNT— Katie Pendleton (@KTPendleton10) July 16, 2021
(Side note: I know I missed things he did well and exact minute marks may be off but you get the point. I’m sure @jeremiah can fact check me. Second assist should count IMO.) pic.twitter.com/SqkIWs2E84
Roldan was especially good in the second half as Martinique seemed to be tiring. His assist came on a nice one-touch pass that allowed Daryl Dike to get a head of steam.
Although he did not get an assist on Gyasi Zardes’ goal due to a defender touching the ball, his pass was absolutely gorgeous.
The performance seemed to be appreciated by pundits.
Greg Seltzer, who does player ratings for MLSsoccer.com, thought Roldan was one of the standout performers and gave him a 7.5, behind only Dike.
It’s hard to say how much to take away from this — Martinique was clearly out of their depth — but it was definitely encouraging and hopefully enough to get Roldan more playing time.