When it comes to the best MLS players to wear the Seattle Sounders jersey, Cristian Roldan is more than worthy of mention. His value to the club is unquestioned.
Roldan was somehow still available when it came time for the Sounders to select a player with the 16th pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, and what he has achieved ever since has been extremely impressive.
The 27-year-old became a regular starter in 2016 and helped Seattle end the season with the first MLS Cup in club history. He has since gone on to be a key member of three more teams who made it to the MLS Cup final, including a second triumph in 2019.
Arguably most impressive of all, Roldan last season helped the Rave Green become the first ever MLS club to win the CONCACAF Champions League. He more than played his part with a tournament-leading five assists.
Midfielder Cristian Roldan is poised to sign a new contract extension which will keep him with the Seattle Sounders through the 2028 MLS season
As such, the latest speculation surrounding Roldan is sure to be greeted positively by Sounders supporters. As per a report from Niko Moreno of MLS Espanol, Sounder at Heart and Pulso Sports, the midfielder is set to sign a contract extension to remain in Seattle.
According to Moreno, the new deal will be for five years and keep the US international with the Rave Green through the 2028 season. This is undoubtedly excellent news for everyone concerned with the club.
Apparently the Sounders had to contend with multiple offers from other clubs, including two from outside MLS. This speaks volumes about both the quality of Roldan and how much he enjoys playing in the Pacific Northwest.
Pending official confirmation of the deal, it will be interesting to find out how much the Artesia, California native will be paid. Last season he had a base salary of $860,000, with a guaranteed total compensation of $981,542.
An up and down 2022 season
The 2022 season was certainly one of highs and lows for Roldan. From an individual perspective, he missed playing time after undergoing surgery for a lingering groin issue.
In terms of the team, there is an ongoing debate about how much Champions League glory resulted in the Sounders missing the playoffs for the first time in MLS franchise history. Giving his take to the media, Roldan said:
"I think there was a bit of that complacency that we often see when winning a trophy. it's natural I think. Winning a trophy that early on in the season is really difficult for a club, because usually you're peaking during the playoffs and trying to win the MLS Cup and end the season on the right note. Then all of a sudden you win (a trophy) so early in the season and how do you stay on top of that mountain? I think that's what we found difficult. Teams are coming after us naturally after winning the Champions League. I don't know if we were necessarily ready for that uphill battle of having that target on our back. That's something we need to correct going into next season, because we're the Sounders and we always play good football and are always competing, so teams are always going to give us their best game. "
During his eight years with the Sounders, Roldan has played 251 regular season and playoff games combined, scoring 32 goals and adding 39 assists. He has also been capped 32 times at the international senior level.
What is your opinion of Roldan? How important is he to the Seattle Sounders? Let us know in the comments section below.