Cristian Roldan rejoined the Sounders on Monday after making his international debut last week with the United States Men’s National Team in a win over Martinique
Cristian Roldan returned to the Sounders from the U.S. Men’s National Team on Monday, saying he appreciated the experience and hopes for more.
Roldan played 90 minutes in a 3-2 win over Martinique last Wednesday in his first international appearance during Group Stage play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. Once considered a longshot to ever play for the U.S. — given he’d bypassed the youth academy system in favor of playing high school soccer — Roldan said he felt largely at home and not in awe of anything amid the younger collection of players assembled by coach Bruce Arena for the tournament’s opening round.
“It was a young group and this group was very welcoming,” Roldan said after working out with the Sounders on Monday in Tukwila. “They all had the same goal and that was to make a good impression on Bruce (Arena) and the national team staff. So, just like them, I felt like I was in the same shoes as them. We were able to become good friends and all do the same things that we were supposed to do.”
As expected, Arena returned many of those younger players to their teams after the initial stage and imported a flock of veterans for the team’s quarterfinal against El Salvador on Wednesday in Philadelphia. Among the imports are Sounders forward Clint Dempsey, whose 56 international goals are one shy of Landon Donovan’s U.S. record.
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Sounders forward Jordan Morris played in all three USMNT games — scoring twice — and has been kept for the knockout round.
Roldan admitted to some initial disappointment at not sticking around with good pal Morris. But he understands he was just being given an initial taste of things and hopes it won’t be the last time.
“Obviously, you want more,” he said. “But you obviously understand where you’re at.”
Among the things he picked up was the need to have “a good first touch” because of the quicker level of play than what he’s used to.
“I think that was the most important thing for me,” Roldan said. “Really getting focused in and keyed in on that first touch. That can give you a lot more time on the ball. Much more time than you actually think.”
While Roldan, at age 22, is coming off an impressive feat at a young…