The Los Angeles Galaxy will be without their top scorer this weekend, although help will soon be on the way.
The Galaxy have traded away Mike Magee for Robbie Rogers in one of the most noteworthy deals in MLS history ahead of Sunday night’s home matchup with a Seattle Sounders team that is unbeaten in its last six contests.
Magee was among the league leaders with six goals for Los Angeles (5-4-2) before he was dealt Saturday to Chicago for the rights to Rogers. Rogers, a former U.S. national team player, had retired in February on the same day he publicly came out as openly gay in a blog post.
“I want to get back to soccer, which is what I love,” Rogers said. “I get to do something I love, and I get to help people and be a positive role model. I’m really excited to set a great example for other kids that are going through the same thing I went through. It’s a perfect world for me, a perfect world.”
The Galaxy’s official Twitter page said coach Bruce Arena is hopeful the paperwork can be completed in time to potentially make Rogers available Sunday. Arena thinks Rogers already is in decent shape despite 18 months with little match experience and figures he could be a strong contributor by July.
In the meantime, Arena will have to make a decision on how to replace Magee, whose 36 shots more than double the total of any other Galaxy player. More will be expected from captain Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan, who now lead the club with two goals apiece.
Los Angeles is 4-0-1 in its last five at home against Seattle (4-3-3). These teams are meeting for the first time since the 2012 Western Conference finals, when Keane scored three total goals as the Galaxy won 4-2 over two legs.
“They’re a tough team to play against,” Keane told the Galaxy’s official website. “They have some good players and every time that we play against them it is always a competitive game. We expect no less on Sunday.”
Seattle has won three straight during a 4-0-2 run but is sorting out some travel issues in the beginning of a unique eight-day road trip. After this contest, the Sounders fly to Florida to play the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL on Wednesday night in the Open Cup before going back to Los Angeles for a league match against Chivas USA next Saturday.
“It’s a little bit ridiculous from that standpoint for us, so we just have to now see and take our guesses as to who travels from L.A. to there, who we may give a break to,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “Do we rest them up there? Do we bring the whole group back into L.A. from Tampa? Do we fly some guys back to Seattle?”
Making matters worse is that defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso is out with a hip strain.
It is likely that top scorer Eddie Johnson and midfielder Brad Evans will play Sunday since they leave after the match to join the United States national team. Johnson scored twice in last Saturday’s 4-2 win over FC Dallas.
The Galaxy, losers of three of four after falling 1-0 at New York last Sunday, will lose Keane to Ireland and Omar Gonzalez to the U.S. after this contest.