USMNT

Cristian Roldan reveals discussions with Gregg Berhalter about USMNT role

Chris Smith
Roldan is looking to impress Gregg Berhalter in this latest national team camp.
Roldan is looking to impress Gregg Berhalter in this latest national team camp. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Cristian Roldan has revealed discussions he's held with USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter over his role with the national team moving forward.

To date, the Seattle Sounders midfielder has picked up 29 senior caps for the Stars and Stripes, but he has just two assists to his name and is yet to register a goal.

Perhaps much of that can be put down to the fact that Roldan has often been used as a utility man, with Berhalter fielding him both through the middle of midfield and out wide at times. He's also picked up 16 of his caps from the substitutes' bench, using his composure and intelligence to see out games or give the United States a different dimension with the ball.

This has come to the frustration of Roldan, who would rather have a defined role. That said, after speaking with Berhalter at the latest national team camp ahead of Saturday's friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina, the 26-year-old seems a little more at ease with his role.

“I spoke with Gregg about this topic, because the truth is I’ve been a bit frustrated because I don’t know what position I am when I’m with this team,” Roldan told reporters (via MLSsoccer.com). “He told me, ‘hey, you can play in two positions.’ I’ve been in central midfield a bit, at times more back, supporting the attack, but in other games, if we’re playing against other teams with different systems, styles, at times he’ll play me as a winger.

“At the moment I need to learn to play both positions very well, so he can depend on me when he calls me.”

Roldan is just one of many MLS players looking to move further up Berhalter's depth chart in this camp before some of the big stars like Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, and Christian Pulisic return for World Cup qualifying in the new year.

The importance of doing well in this group certainly isn't lost on the midfielder.

“Gregg is very analytical, he looks at every training session and every play, so being sharp mentally and physically is going to be really important in this camp and in January,” Roldan added. “But staying fit is going to be really important to have a chance of making the qualifier group …it's about expanding the player pool and getting these young guys into the [Berhalter] system that is so complicated and nerve-wracking at times.

“Our system is very difficult to learn and this camp is an opportunity to have these young guys ready when it's their time,” he noted in Spanish. “And for us veterans that are here, it's very nice to help them learn this system faster. And we are also here to stay in good shape physically for the qualifiers to come.”


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