26. Cristian Roldan
In a word, why?
We know Roldan is a well-liked player within the pool. There’s something to be said about offering real value as a beacon of team chemistry. Roldan is also said to be extremely smart — helping teammates unearth elements of their games that they didn’t necessarily see themselves. Seeing as if Roldan could be a future coach-in-the-making, why couldn’t he have just been called up in that capacity? Other nations are rumored to be bringing players on as non-roster members purely for these elements (chemistry, another set of eyes, ‘vibes’, etc). One potential example is reportedly Filipe Luis and Brazil.
Instead, Gregg Berhalter opted to bring in a player who is clearly not good enough for the international level. Roldan isn’t spectacular in any one particular facet of the game. In 32 caps with the USMNT, he’s notched 0 goals and 2 assists. While he likely won’t play in Qatar, Berhalter could’ve better utilized the spot for a potential difference-maker off the bench (hello Djordje Mihailovic or Malik Tillman!) as opposed to this glorified unofficial mascot position Roldan currently holds.
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