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Almost two weeks removed from the end of the MLS regular season, Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan is still grappling with the highs and lows of 2022.

On the one hand, the Rave Green enjoyed a magical run in Concacaf Champions League, making history as the first MLS side to become kings of the continent. On the other hand, the club missed out on qualifying for the postseason for the first time in its 14-year MLS existence.

“I think from all of us, everyone will say that it’s a frustrating year because we had so much going for us in terms of what we thought was the quality in our roster and winning Champions League early on,” he told media at Starfire Sports this week. “Overall, it was a frustrating year not being able to compete for not being able to compete for multiple trophies. We set high standards here at the club and that’s always our goal.”

Roldan also reflected on how his season largely mirrored that of the team, with the highs of lighting up the stat sheet in the early parts of the season and CCL colliding with the lows of dealing with the first significant injury of his career later in the year.

“I felt in really good shape coming into the season and felt like I was playing really well,” reflected Roldan. “After that Toronto game and that Nashville game where we had three games in a week, me getting injured during that time kind of spiraled into a downhill effect. It became a difficult year. But I’m getting back, and I feel back to myself.”

Interview: Cristian Roldan on the 2022 season

Often dubbed Seattle’s Iron Man for his impeccable fitness and availability, Roldan has been a constant presence on the team sheet throughout his seven seasons as a Sounder. So when he suffered an athletic pubalgia injury that required surgery in August, it taught him a valuable lesson about cherishing every moment he’s out on the pitch.

“From an individual standpoint, I learned a lot,” he said. “This was really my first injury and it’s dark at times. This is what you love to do. You want to be out here training with the guys that you love. I think in that aspect, appreciating the every day hustle that the profession brings.”

Roldan spoke at length about the standards of excellence and expectations of competing for trophies that come with representing the Sounders. In particular, he was adamant that he and the squad will do whatever it takes to make sure that missing the postseason does not become a trend.

“From a team standpoint, I feel like I need to take a bigger step into a leadership role and make sure that this stuff doesn’t happen again,” said Roldan. “I think that will be my goal going into the next year.”

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