CARSON, Calif. – Injuries have ravaged the LA Galaxy back line and it seems that the club is resorting to some creative methods to provide additional depth in defense.
During the second half of LA Galaxy II’s 2-1 victory over the Charlotte Eagles on Monday, Los Dos head coach Curt Onalfo slotted midfielder Robbie Rogers into the left back position. The move comes amid injuries to James Riley (six months due to left knee surgery), Todd Dunivant (abdominal strain), and Omar Gonzalez (left knee injury).
The position was not entirely unfamiliar to the 26-year-old, but his last match at left back took place on Aug. 13, 2008 during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, when an early red card forced Rogers to slide into the left side of defense for the Americans’ 2-1 loss to Nigeria.
“It was different. I played there once in the Olympics and [former U.S. National Team head coach Bob Bradley] used to put me there in training,” Rogers said. “With the way things are with injuries to the first team. They thought it would be good to give me a look.
“It was good to get tested and I thought that we did a good job defending,” added Rogers. “It was just good to get a rep in and play back there again.”
In the second half, Rogers was rarely tested as Charlotte struggled to assert themselves offensively after Chandler Hoffman’s go-ahead goal in the 55th minute. Amid a steady defensive performance that saw him only commit a single foul, Rogers was also active going forward, repeatedly linking up with the attack as Galaxy II looked to double their lead.
Although the showing wasn’t a perfect one, Onalfo gave Rogers’ brief stint at left back his stamp of approval.
“He did a good job. It’s obviously not his natural position so there are going to be some situational things that he hasn’t seen a lot of in terms of timing, but I think that it was good for him to get his feet wet,” said Onalfo. “It’s not easy thing to do. “
Center back Tommy Meyer, another player who is eager to return to first team duty, agreed, “He was talking to me the whole time. He was easy to play with and understood what he had to do in that position.”
While the position may not be the most familiar to Rogers, the midfielder turned defender admits that he’ll take up the role if it means that he’s afforded a gateway back to the first team—and possibly the starting lineup.
“At this point, it’s not my natural position but we’ll see how this goes during this week and this season. The point is to help the team whether it’s left back or left midfield or forward. I simply want to play and help the team.”