Ever since he first broke into the United States national team, Cristian Roldan has been a somewhat polarizing figure. For his detractors, he’s just another MLS player with limited upside who’s taking a spot from a younger, more promising prospect probably playing in Europe. For his supporters, Roldan is a reliable, solid contributor who can adequately play a variety of positions at an international level.
Something seems to have changed after his most recent Gold Cup performance. Although Roldan was used almost exclusively off the bench, he was reliably one of the USMNT’s most influential players. Combined with his tidy two-way play, Roldan also had a few moments of real dynamism.
This is, of course, in addition to his standout play for the Sounders this year. Between the Sounders and USMNT, Roldan has gone 15-0-6 in matches in which he’s played (that’s good for 2.43 PPM).
Now, at least among pundits, Roldan appears to be a virtual lock to at least make Gregg Berhalter’s roster for the slate of upcoming World Cup qualifiers (Sept. 2-8). The roster is expected to be announced sometime this week.
Among those who have Roldan included in the roster that will likely include anywhere from 23-28 players:
- Soccer by Ives
- The Sporting News
- The Athletic
- The Scuffed Soccer Podcast (especially notable because they’re among the longtime Roldan detractors)
For once, a USMNT call-up shouldn’t have a negative impact on the Sounders, who don’t play any matches between Aug. 29 and Sept. 11. If Roldan is called up, he’ll likely depart after Sunday’s game and should be back from Honduras with at least a day or two to spare before Seattle’s match against Minnesota United.