CARSON, Calif. – Back from injury and feeling healthy, Robbie Rogers is beginning to progress into a genuine option for LA head coach Bruce Arena, but to get over the hump, he’ll need to improve in the final third.
Given a chance to start after Pablo Mastroeni suffered a late injury, Rogers went 78 minutes on the right side of the Galaxy midfield in LA’s 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC last Sunday. The start was Rogers’ first league start since July 13 and his second appearance in a week after going 45 minutes in LA’s 4-0 defeat to El Salvador's Isidro Metapán in CONCACAF Champions League.
As he aims to regain a consistent starting role with the Galaxy, Rogers admitted that it was
“[The game was] important for me because I haven’t played a game like that for a long time, so it’s important for my growth and just my development,” said Rogers, who nearly found the back of the net in the 40th minute when he his shot was saved by goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. “I've been trying to focus on every day just improving a little bit and I haven’t played that many games in two or three months, but I think that each game I've gotten a little better.
“I think that it’s good time that I’m a little bit more fit and stronger heading into the playoffs.”
LA associate head coach Dave Sarachan, who a week earlier heralded Rogers as a potential third attacking option behind work horses Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, admitted that he did well on the turf at CenturyLink Field.
“I think that he’s turned a corner physically,” said Sarachan. “We were pleased with the effort that he gave in Seattle. Going forward, there wasn't a lot for him or other players, but as far as the dirty running, tracking back, and defending, he seemed to do well… Now he has to get it going in the attacking third a little more that part needs to get a little cleaner.”
“[The Seattle game] was a difficult one, so that’s definitely one think I need to do when we’re playing at home, on such a big and with the way that we play,” said Rogers. “That would be combining a good defensive effort with creating chances [offensively]."
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