TUKWILA — Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan underwent groin surgery Tuesday morning and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks, according to coach Brian Schmetzer.

Dr. William B. Hutchinson, Jr. is a specialist in the field of sports hernias and handled the procedure in Santa Monica, California. Schmetzer said Roldan, 27, made the decision to undergo surgery after consultations with multiple physicians and not being able to play against the Los Angeles Galaxy last week.

“We (medical team and Sounders technical staff) had a long conversation with Cristian,” Schmetzer said Tuesday following training at Starfire Sports in Tukwila. “It was a tough decision for him, but I think it’s the best outcome because it gets him back in a 4-6 week timeline and gets him back for the playoffs.

“He’s fine. He came out great, the surgery went great. We wish him a speedy recovery.”

Schmetzer said Roldan contemplated his goal of making the U.S. men’s national team roster for the FIFA men’s World Cup in Qatar this fall. The U.S. will play a pair of friendlies against Japan (Sept. 23) and Saudi Arabia (Sept. 27) in Europe that Roldan would likely miss. He’s regarded as a bubble player to make the final World Cup roster, but it’s not due until October.

The Sounders (10-13-3) are one point below the playoff line headed into Friday’s derby against the Portland Timbers (7-8-12), which are in the same predicament. Seattle’s final regular-season match is Oct. 9 against San Jose at Lumen Field and the single-elimination postseason ends with MLS Cup on Nov. 5 to allow internationals time to report to their respective teams for the World Cup.


“This gives him a good shot at making that team,” Schmetzer said of Cristian. “If he can come back and play games for us at the end of the season and into the playoffs, that will get him ready to be at his best for any sort of selection that (USMNT coach Gregg) Berhalter would want to make.”

Roldan has been instrumental in Seattle’s success, totaling four goals and five assists during MLS competitions this season.

The former University of Washington star showed rare signs of fatigue when pulled in the 77th minute of a loss against Real Salt Lake at Lumen Field earlier this month. Roldan hasn’t suffered a major injury in his MLS career and has only logged fewer than 2,300 minutes in a season twice — in 2020 when the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic shortened the schedule and his rookie year in 2015.

Roldan began his competitive 2022 slate with vying for playing time in USMNT camp in January. He propelled the Sounders through the CONCACAF Champions League run beginning in February, leading all players with five assists and pocketing one goal in the tournament.

A late penalty prevented the Sounders from closing out a comeback against the Galaxy at Dignity Sports Health Park. The sides played to a 3-3 draw, midfielder Kelyn Rowe starting in place of Roldan and Schmetzer altering his formation.

Rowe played at left wing back while striker Raul Ruidiaz and forward Jordan Morris played together up top. Ruidiaz is returning from a pair of hamstring injuries but is fully fit and will start against Portland.


“Cristian is that big presence, so we’re going to miss him and need a few guys to step up,” Rowe said Tuesday. “Danny (Leyva) did really well holding that middle spot (against LA) and my role has been on the outside wing. I love that left side because I do have more of the field and can cutback on my favorite right (foot). I’m getting better using that left foot as well.”

The Sounders have played without Roldan due to international call-ups in the past. But he’s the latest in a string of injuries the club has had to manage. Midfielder Joao Paulo is out for the season with an ACL tear, while midfielder Obed Vargas is less likely to return due to a stress fracture in his lower back.

“There’s also Jimmy Medranda and he’s got to take his chance when he comes into games,” Schmetzer said of possibilities to replace Roldan while using a different formation. “There’s still a little bit of competition there. But Kelyn has been a really, really valuable the last couple of years.”