Sounders FC @ LA Galaxy
May 26, 2013, 8 pm PT, The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
TV/Radio: ESPN2; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; ESPN Deportes (Spanish)
Sigi Schmid is proud to see Robbie Rogers back on the field. But he wouldn’t mind to see him wait a week before making his return to MLS though.
On Saturday, the LA Galaxy announced that they had acquired the rights to Rogers from the Chicago Fire in exchange for Mike Magee. Rogers announced in February that he is gay and that his decision to come out would also mean that he was retiring from soccer. His return makes him the first openly gay player active in MLS and his debut will mark the first time an openly gay player suited up in one of the five major team sports in America.
Schmid has long had a connection to Rogers. In addition to coaching the former US National Team midfielder with the Columbus Crew from 2007-2008, Rogers was a childhood friend of Schmid’s youngest son, Kyle, since they were nine years old.
Rogers texted Schmid on Saturday morning telling him that he looked forward to seeing him when the Galaxy and Sounders meet in a nationally televised match on ESPN2 on Sunday at 8 pm PT. Schmid’s response was indicative of their longstanding relationship – both friendly and competitive.
“I hope to see you, but not on the field,” Schmid told reporters after training on Saturday.
Rogers played for the Columbus Crew from 2007-2011 before leaving MLS to play in England. He signed with Leeds United, but made just 13 appearances since 2011 including his time on loan to Stevenage.
By signing with the LA Galaxy, he gives them an out-and-out winger to complement stars Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan in the attack. On the left side, Rogers was an MLS Best XI midfielder in 2008 when he had six goals and three assists for the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup winning Crew.
Now, he displaces the club’s leading scorer in Los Angeles, as Magee had six goals through the club’s first 11 matches. He helped the Galaxy to their 5-4-2 start and now goes to a Chicago team that is struggling in the East at 2-7-1.
The swap changes the dynamic of the midfield for the Galaxy.
“It’s hard to say because Robbie hasn’t played any games with them yet. Robbie is more of an out-and-out winger where Magee is more of a pseudo-winger/pseudo-forward and gets inside more,” Schmid said. “It maybe changes a little bit how they play and it may take them a little bit of time to coordinate that.”
It is unclear whether or not Rogers will be available for the Galaxy on Sunday, as they are awaiting arrival of his International Transfer Certificate.