TUKWILA, Wash. — A return date has still not been set and it’s likely still a way off, but Cristian Roldan was able to participate in more of training than at any point since he first entered concussion protocol more than a month ago. Roldan was able to participate in some actual drills as a neutral before moving to more cardio-focused exercises during Tuesday’s session.
“We’d like him to be out here in full, but he’s out in partial training,” Sounders head coach Brian Schemtzer said. “They’ve figured out a couple of things that might be causing some of the delays. We’ll get more into that as we get more information but he’s on the mend.”
Roldan last played for the Sounders on April 8 in a 3-0 win over St. Louis City. Although he didn’t suffer any blows to the head, he may have suffered a whiplash-induced concussion. Roldan did not report his symptoms until later that week, at which point he was put in the league’s concussion protocol and hasn’t resumed full training since.
In addition to regaining his fitness, Roldan must also pass a series of tests before he’s cleared to play. First and foremost, the symptoms must completely abate. Once that happens they’ll do some things like put Roldan through heading drills, more fitness work and then some computer-aided exams.
“It’s been frustrating,” Roldan told reporters last week. “It affects you on the field, off the field, at home.
“Fingers crossed that my symptoms go away and I’ll be back on the pitch, but we are trending in the right direction and I’m on the field doing some intensive work, so hopefully it’s soon.”
Beyond just hoping that Roldan can return to normal life, there’s also a recognition of how much he meant to the team’s performance. The Sounders were 5-1-1 with Roldan this year but have gone just 2-4-1 since he’s been out.
“I miss him,” Sounders midfielder João Paulo said. “I’m not going to hide. He’s a big part of our success and we miss him. But we need to give a response to him as well.”
Ruidíaz also getting closer
Raúl Ruidíaz is probably a bit closer to making his return than Roldan, but his status is still unknown for Saturday’s game against the New York Red Bulls. Ruidíaz was not quite a full participant in Tuesday’s training session, but is scheduled to be closer to all-in on Wednesday. Schmetzer said they’d be able to better make an assessment of his striker’s availability at that point.
“We’re not going to do something rash because we’ve had some bad results,” Schmetzer said. “Everyone has seen it. You press and then you make a decision that affects the long-term health of Raúl. We’re just not going to do that.”
Ruidíaz last played on April 15 and has two goals in five appearances.