Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan will both be joining the United States men’s national team in Qatar for the 2022 men’s World Cup, it was announced on Wednesday. By most accounts, Roldan and Morris both benefitted from the roster being extended to 26 players from the traditional size of 23. Seattle native and former Sounder DeAndre Yedlin also made the USA’s roster as the lone player with previous World Cup experience.
“As an organization, we are incredibly happy for Jordan and Cristian. If any two guys earned it, it’s these two,” Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a team release. “No players work harder or more honestly for their team, and I am so glad to see that effort rewarded with this opportunity. We are lucky to have them, as is Coach Berhalter.”
The journey to Qatar has been an interesting one for the two Sounders, who have bounced between longshots to shoo-ins to something in between over the past couple years.
As recently as early 2021, Morris seemed to be positioning himself to be a potential starter at the World Cup. He was coming off a Best XI campaign with the Sounders and was on loan to English Championship side Swansea City. But then he tore his ACL and ended up missing most of the 2021 season. He returned in 2022 and played well enough to earn regular call-ups to the USMNT, but only made one start in six World Cup qualifying appearances. More concerning was his dip in form with the Sounders, as he scored just one goal over his final 12 appearances. Ultimately, his ability to stretch the field to a degree largely unmatched in the player pool is likely what got him in.
Roldan’s journey has been even more circuitous. Although he has been a pretty regular call-up throughout the Gregg Berhalter era, he’s only started once since the start of 2021. Still, Roldan has been a consistent part of the team and was called into every World Cup qualifier, even if he never played more than 29 minutes. Even though it’s still not quite clear what kind of role he’ll play — or even if he’ll play — in Qatar, Roldan has been lauded for his ability to raise the level in training and is popular among teammates.
“Congratulations to Jordan and Cristian, two players who mean so much to this club and community,” Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “We’ve witnessed their development first-hand as members of the club, and their ability to excel at the highest levels of our league has given them a chance to participate in the biggest competition in the world. I can’t think of two more deserving players to represent our country at the World Cup.”
Whatever their credentials, both players were clearly on the bubble. Roldan was long considered a bit of a “glue guy” which may have prompted Berhalter to select him over the likes of Rangers’ Malik Tillman.
It has long been expected that Morris was effectively competing for a spot with Paul Arriola, who had a slightly bigger role in qualifying. But like Morris, he also faded badly down the stretch of the MLS season with just 1 goal and 3 assists in his final 14 games. He apparently suffered some sort of injury during the recent USMNT training camp, which was likely the tipping point for his exclusion.
U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM - 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB/COUNTRY; CAPS/GOALS; HOMETOWN)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Luton Town/ENG; 8/0; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 10/0; Lilburn, Ga.), Matt Turner (Arsenal/ENG; 20/0; Park Ridge, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (9): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/SCO; 11/0; Southend-on-Sea, England), Sergiño Dest (AC Milan/ITA; 19/2; Almere, Netherlands), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 29/3; Oak Hills, Calif.), Shaq Moore (Nashville SC; 15/1; Powder Springs, Ga.), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 46/1; St. Louis, Mo.), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 29/2; Liverpool, England), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 3/0; Lake Grove, N.Y.), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami CF; 75/0; Seattle, Wash.), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 33/3; Lawrenceville, Ga.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United/ENG; 24/6; Medford, N.J.), Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 53/2; Plano, Texas), Tyler Adams (Leeds United/ENG; 32/1; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo/ESP; 12/0; San Diego, Calif.), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 37/9; Little Elm, Texas), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 19/0; London, England), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 32/0; Pico Rivera, Calif.)
FORWARDS (7): Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 15/7; McKinney, Texas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 49/11; Mercer Island, Wash.), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 52/21; Hershey, Pa.), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 14/4; Bedford, N.Y.), Josh Sargent (Norwich City/ENG; 20/5; O’Fallon, Mo.), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 25/3; Rosedale, N.Y.), Haji Wright (Antalyaspor/TUR; 3/1; Los Angeles, Calif.)