US Soccer

Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan happy with ‘progress’ made by United States national team during January camp

Cristian Roldan USA vs. Costa Rica 2019-02-04

Two matches into the Gregg Berhalter era and two wins for the United States men’s national team.

Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan started and played the full 90 minutes in each of the United States’ matches, first in a 3-0 win over Panama on Jan. 27 and then a 2-0 victory over Sounders defender Waylon Francis and Costa Rica on Feb. 3. The games marked the end of a month-long, MLS-only January camp, the first camp for Berhalter since taking over, and it signaled the start of what will hopefully be a prosperous cycle leading into the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“There was progress,” said Roldan. “That’s what we wanted from the get-go. We want to see more progress with the games coming up, with the practices coming up.”

The U.S. scored two late goals, the first by Sebastian Lletget in the 80th minute and the second by Paul Arriola eight minutes later. The team was not happy with the way it played in the first half, with Berhalter focusing on ball movement and speed of play in the locker room at halftime. From there, the go-ahead goal felt inevitable.

“We felt like it was a little dull, especially in the first half,” said Roldan. “[We wanted to be] staying connected with our pairs. I play on the right side with Corey [Baird] and Nick [Lima], and getting that balance right was very important.

“I thought it was an enjoyable game from the get-go,” he continued. “[Costa Rica was] a team that was willing to press, willing to compete. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out as strong, but in the second half we built momentum and we were fortunate to score two goals, but it could have been more.”

Roldan came close to opening his national team scoring account. His first chance from close range sailed wide of the net, and his second, a beautiful left-footed strike from outside the box, caromed off the post.

“Unfortunately I missed a play prior to that, and I wanted to make up for it, that’s why I was crashing the box quite a bit,” Roldan said. “My left-footed shot off the post felt like a nice strike. Once I saw it hit the post, I got a little sad, but that’s why you work so hard. You work for those moments, and hopefully I can score the next one.”

The United States will have its full complement of players available next month when they host two friendlies. The U.S. will take on Ecuador on March 21 at Orlando City Stadium (5 p.m. PT; ESPN2, UniMás, Univision Deportes) before battling Chile on March 26 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas (5 p.m. PT; ESPN2, UniMás, Univision Deportes).



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