Rogers receives US call-up as Crew future uncertain
OBETZ, Ohio – Robbie Rogers and Dilly Duka, the midfielder that might replace Rogers in Columbus, were summoned from the Crew’s postseason workouts to their respective US international squads this week.
Rogers, whose MLS contract expires next month, was called Thursday to the full national team for matches on Nov. 11 in France and four days later in Slovenia.
On Wednesday, Duka learned he was invited to the U-23 camp that starts Monday in Duisburg, Germany, in preparation for the qualifiers to the 2012 Olympics in London.
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“I’m very excited and honored to be playing among the top youth players that could represent our nation,” Duka said. “It’s going to be a challenge, too, to see what everyone is made of. It’s going to be tough soccer.”
With the full national team also beginning training Monday in Paris and the Crew’s final session scheduled two weeks from now, there’s the possibility Rogers has put on the team’s training gear for the final time.
“Being here today is a little sad,” Rogers said Thursday outside the Obetz training grounds. “You don’t know if you’re going to be back. It’s part of the job. I really don’t know what will happen.
“I’ve been happy here. I’ve really enjoyed myself the past five years,” he added.
Rogers, 24, joined the Crew in 2007 and has 13 goals and 16 assists in 106 career regular-season games and was named to the Best XI in 2008 when the Crew won the MLS Cup.
He’s mainly played on the left flank, but Duka could be a candidate there after excelling at the end of the season when he scored his first career goal at New England on Oct. 15 and added another a week later at Chicago while Rogers was hampered by a hamstring injury.
Coach Robert Warzycha thinks Duka’s strong finish was a factor in his call-up.
“He was playing well,” Warzycha said. “He’s one of the best young players in the league, so I’m not surprised.”
Duka, 22, played in only three matches as a rookie in 2010 but made 16 starts among 22 appearances this season and had three assists.
“At the first of the year, I didn’t get playing time,” he said. “Then I started a few games at the end of the season, so if you’re watching games, you notice that. Also, as the games went on and the more time I was getting and the consistent time I was getting, I was becoming more confident on the field and really expressing my playing style.”
Duka and Rogers aren’t the only Crew players headed to their national teams. Defender Julius James will rejoin Trinidad and Tobago for a pair of World Cup qualifiers vs. Guyana on Nov. 11 and 15.