Opta, the official data partner for Major League Soccer, on Tuesday named Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan to the 2019 MLS Best XI for the 2019 regular season.
According to Opta, Roldan, who played over 2,500 minutes for the fourth consecutive season, was one of the top statistical performers in central midfield. The 24-year-old box-to-box dynamo was one of just three midfielders across the league to win possession over 200 times, win possession in the final third over 20 times and complete over 85-percent of his passes.
In addition to his impressive underlying data, Roldan posted six goals and five assists. His 11 combined goals and assists was good enough for his second-most productive professional season, falling just behind 2018, when he tallied four goals and nine assists. However, he played 500 fewer minutes this season due to national team call-ups, another data point indicating his increased efficiency in the final third.
Roldan’s inclusion on the Opta Best XI is made even more remarkable considering his positional changes throughout 2019. At various points in the season, he has lined up in all three central midfield spots, as well as a right midfielder and right back. His impressive performances, confirmed by both the eye-test and underlying data, showcase year-to-year growth in MLS.
Roldan has been called-up to the United States Men’s National team for a pair of CONCACAF Nations League matches against Cuba (October 11) and Canada (October 15).
He will then return to the Sounders for a crucial Round One matchup against FC Dallas in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs on October 19 at CenturyLink Field (12:30 p.m. PT; FOX Sports).