TUKWILA, Wash. – Cristian Roldan says he’s finally feeling “normal” after missing nearly two months while in concussion protocols. It was the second time this season he’d missed about that much time, leading many to ask if he should have just sat out the rest of the season.
“It’s been a frustrating year for me,” Roldan said on Monday. “But beyond soccer it’s good to be back to normal and feeling good again.”
Through a combination of injury and international duty, Roldan has already missed 18 games. He had only missed 19 in the four previous seasons combined. Coming into 2022, Roldan had only missed 25 games in his first seven seasons as a professional.
The start against the Colorado Rapids on Sept. 20 was his first since coming out at halftime of a Leagues Cup match against Real Salt Lake on July 22. He had played 28 minutes off the bench on Sept. 16 in a 1-1 tie with FC Dallas.
During his 64-minute performance, Roldan was among the Sounders’ most effective players and picked up the assist on what turned out to be the winning goal.
“When the 60th minute hit at altitude, I had to make a long run and got subbed out,” Roldan said. “It was somewhat planned but I think you could see with my body language I had to come off. It’s not easy playing over there. We needed fresh legs. It’s tough. Once they start crossing the ball, you need bodies.”
Although it was his first primary assist of the season, the Sounders have clearly missed Roldan’s contributions. When Roldan starts, the Sounders are 6-1-4 (2.0 ppg) with a 21-8 goal-difference. When Roldan doesn’t start, the Sounders are 6-8-5 (1.21 ppg).
For the Sounders to make a push for home-field advantage in the playoffs, let alone a deep run, they’ll surely need Roldan healthy.
“You have to gather some momentum going in to playoffs,” Roldan said. “If you do well in the last couple of games, no one wants to play you.”