Cristian Roldan’s impact on the pitch is undeniable.
Roldan’s first start in months was nothing short of successful, propelling the Rave Green to a 2-1 victory with an assist to Albert Rusnák in the second half.
“The goal that he created for Albert was a very good, savvy soccer play,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “A lot of guys would cross the ball early, but he got down to the end line, he waited, he hesitated, then he clipped the ball into the dangerous spot. So you know tonight, he got on the scoresheet and rightly so.”
After suffering a concussion on July 22 and serving as a second half substitute in the Sounders previous road battle against FC Dallas, the Seattle squad welcomed Roldan back into the starting lineup in open arms, certain he’d be a difference maker in their midweek match against the Colorado Rapids.
His 65-minute performance showcased exactly that.
“The way that Cristian plays that [winger] position, there’s no one else on the team who can play it the same way,” said Rusnák. “We’ve missed him…Nobody does it like Cristian.”
Roldan’s contributions were significant, digging out balls on defense, nearly scoring the first goal of the night in the 31st minute with a half-volleyed effort, and then closing out his remaining time on the field with the assist just 11 minutes into the second half.
“He's got lots of qualities that add up and make him who he is,” said goalkeeper Stefan Frei. “He's powerful, he's got good technique, he's got good vision and he's a bit of a dog. He's got some fight in him, and I think we, at times, need players to kind of feed off that.”
The Sounders have played in 31 MLS regular season matches so far this season, but the veteran winger has participated in just 12 of them due to international duty and concussion protocol. Of the 12 matches, he’s only been a part of two losses with the Rave Green, proving how crucial he is for the team to come out with a positive result.
“He's very important for the team and we're very happy to have him back,” said Rusnák. “He helps us a lot and you could also see it a little bit today when he came off that, you know, things started to become a bit more difficult for us.”
Wednesday’s win over the Rapids not only served as a reminder of how impactful Roldan is for the Seattle squad, but it also demonstrated the way the team is gelling and fighting for more points as the season comes to a close and playoffs are on the horizon.
The Sounders have four matches left, with their next battle facing off against Eastern Conference side Nashville SC on Sept. 30. (5:30 p.m. PT; Watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV).
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