Alex Roldan added another example of what belief in yourself can get you.
The former Seattle University standout was without a MLS contract in January 2020. He pleaded with the Sounders FC for a tryout, switching positions and stating he knew he could contribute, and worked his way to a starting spot at right fullback for the MLS Cup by December.
Now a right side wingback, Roldan continued the trajectory to be a mainstay in the starting XI this season while also earning a spot on the El Salvador national team for the upcoming Gold Cup tournament.
Sunday, Roldan added his first MLS goal, and helped the Sounders slip away with a 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
Seattle (7-0-5) tied for the league’s best start to a season with its 12-match unbeaten streak.
“The goal, for me, was overdue,” said Roldan, who entered the league in 2018. “It’s my fourth season and I’ve had well enough time to get the opportunity to score. Not taking from it. Obviously it’s a good thing that came my way and I was able to help the team in some way. Unfortunately we didn’t get the win, but a point will do.”
Roldan’s score in the 41st minute was a microcosm of his burgeoning professional career. He flubbed a touch outside the box with Colorado defender Sam Vines taking control of the ball.
But Roldan kept pressing.
Vines passed to Andre Shinyashiki and when the latter attempted to pass it back, the ball hit Roldan. He chased down the deflection in the box and beamed a shot at goal, with the ball ricocheting off keeper William Yarbrough’s hands and into the net.
“Alex has the right mentality, he made something out of nothing,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “Actually, I was surprised because I thought Alex had already scored for our franchise before because he’s been involved in so many of our attacking movements this year and even when he played last year, he showed flashes of what he could do with his crossing and his attacking abilities.”
Rapids forward Michael Barrios found the equalizer in the 58th minute. Barrios collected a cross and Sounders wingback Brad Smith was slow to defend the ball. Barrios was controlling how he wanted to take the shot, sending a left-footed attempt past Smith, Seattle’s AB Cissoko and keeper Stef Cleveland.
Colorado (5-3-1) dominated possession of the ball for most of the second half. Cleveland made saves in the 66th and 68th minute. Barrios had a shot hit the post in the 76th minute.
Schmetzer said he made a substitution to put midfielder Danny Leyva in for Josh Atencio to stop the Colorado’s onslaught. The Rapids outshot the Sounders 14-7 overall.
“We couldn’t get out of our own path,” Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan said. “They pinned us in really well. When Danny came in, he brought some energy and provided a little bit of that possession that we needed. A little bit of that composure that we needed. It was always going to be a tough game. Understanding that we’re at altitude and we’re playing away. … Unfortunately we couldn’t get that second one (goal).”
Schmetzer returned to his signature, one-forward look for the match against Colorado. The club disclosed shortly before the game that forward Will Bruin suffered a knee injury in the draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC last week and underwent arthroscopic surgery Friday.
Bruin, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2019, started eight matches and recorded two assists in debuting Schmetzer’s new two-forward lineup intended for this year. Bruin is expected to be out at least a month.
The veteran joins forward Jordan Morris, midfielder Jordy Delem, midfielder Nico Lodeiro and goalkeeper Stefan Frei as players to suffer knee injuries this season. Delem was ruled out for the year while Morris might be able to play this fall. There’s no timetable for Lodeiro and Frei, whose injury caused a blood clot.
An adductor injury to defender Nouhou and international call-ups for Cristian Roldan (U.S.) and Alex Roldan also will strain the Sounders’ rotation as Seattle plays Wednesday against the Houston Dynamo at Lumen Field. Cristian joined USMNT after the game Sunday.
Center back Xavier Arreaga could return for the match Wednesday. He was called up by his Ecuador national team for World Cup qualifying matches and the Copa America tournament. Ecuador was eliminated in the quarterfinals.
“We’re down to 16-15 players,” Cristian Roldan said. “Guys are going to have to step up while Will Bruin is hurt and other guys are injured or with national teams. … This is a big opportunity for these guys to show what they can do. We have confidence in (the younger players) to jump into the starting lineup and contribute.”