CARSON, Calif. — Robbie Rogers has taken considerable strides each week as his match fitness improves and he finds the intricacies of his game again, and the overriding judgment following his showing in the LA Galaxy's 2-0 victory Sunday night over FC Dallas is that, truly, the veteran winger is back.
Rogers went the full 90 for the first time since he returned to the game in late May, picked up his first assist with the Galaxy and came oh-so-close on three occasions to scoring his first goal with the club.
“I'm feeling more fit and finding a rhythm in the game and kind of finding my spots,” said Rogers, who was making his fifth successive start for LA. “I think today was one of my more complete performances of the season. ... [I was] a little bit unlucky [with the chances], but I'm not too worried about that. I'm just really happy we won. I'm sure people will make comments, but if we keep winning, it won't bother me.”
Rogers, who hadn't played since last fall when he signed with the Galaxy in late May, is starting to contribute in earnest, and his off-the-ball runs and work on the left flank have played a role in LA's dominance of their last three opponents. He provides a dimension the team has lacked out wide, and they are starting to discover what that dimension can provide.
“I think this week did him good, playing Thursday and Sunday straightaway, fitness-wise, and we saw it tonight,” Galaxy captain Robbie Keane said following the game at the StubHub Center. “Tonight was his best performance since he's been here.”
Bruce Arena also was pleased.
“It takes awhile, and I think his fitness looked real good, and the last, I'd say, 60 minutes tonight were real good,” the Galaxy coach said. “A little unlucky: The one header he had looked like a goal to me, [and] there was another shot they saved off the line. He was a little unlucky there, but he's in good positions, his width at times is real good.”
Rogers has had opportunities to score in several games but came closest against Dallas. He forced a save from Raúl Fernández after a through ball from Omar Gonzalez in the 18th minute and couldn't quite place an open header in the 31st. His best opportunity arrived four minutes into the second half when he leapt onto a loose ball and fired through Fernández before Jair Benítez cleared it off the goal line.
“I just hit it as hard as I could, and it, like, went through the guy's leg and then it got cleared on the line,” Rogers said. “I think maybe if I would have hit that one higher, but I was just thinking just hit it hard and low to keep it on frame. Of course, looking back at that stuff, it's easy to say.”
He picked up his assist in the 80th minute, feeding Hector Jimenez from the left byline for LA's second goal.
“[It] was a good moment for us to get a goal, a good moment to kind of kill the game off,” Rogers said. “I was happy to contribute in that way.”