How International Duty Sparked Sounders Midfielder Cristian Roldan

TORONTO, ONTARIO - DECEMBER 10: Tyrone Mears (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - DECEMBER 10: Tyrone Mears (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan finished the largest comeback in MLS history in regulation after scoring his first international goal for the USMNT earlier that week. How has international experience benefited Roldan?

Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan answered the call when he was brought in as USMNT head coach Bruce Arena’s “B” Squad for group play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. He scored his first international goal while playing a full 90 against Martinique.

Then, last Wednesday, he capped the largest comeback ever in regulation in MLS history with a late goal to stun DC United and pull out a 4-3 victory for the Sounders.

The victory could be a season-defining moment for Brian Schmetzer’s club, and it wouldn’t have happened without Roldan.

Roldan playing alongside Sounders teammate Jordan Morris and others in international competition likely boosted his confidence, even when he was left off of the final roster for the knockout stage of the Gold Cup.

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He returned to Seattle with a vengeance, and took all he learned from facing all-star teams from other countries to heart.

The son of Guatemalan and Salvadorean immigrants, Roldan was born and raised in Los Angeles, where he honed his passion and skill for the World’s Game. A proud American, Roldan was happy to represent the USMNT on an international level. His winner against DC put a cherry on top of a “crazy” week that featured plenty of travel and uniform switches.

The 22-year-old midfielder was also named seventh on the list of promising young players by  MLS, and has a bright future for the Sounders. Maybe with some international experience under his belt, he’ll come along even faster for Seattle and form a young core Schmetzer can count on for years to come.

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For 2017, it remains to be seen if his goal against DC United saved the  season. Hindsight is the best tool for determining that. If nothing else, the Sounders have their midfielder of the future today.