Robbie Rogers hoping first action of season for LA Galaxy is first step to full return
It wasn't everything he wanted it to be, but it's a step forward for the oft-injured winger who believes he's ready to contribute in earnest.
"Everything is a step, definitely, and I feel like I've been improving," said Rogers, who was diagnosed with a stress-reaction injury early in preseason and sat out nearly two months, following Monday morning's training session. "We have two big games at home coming up, and we need to get points and we need to make StubHub Center a fortress. Hopefully, I can contribute."
The first of the initial back-to-back home games for the Galaxy is Wednesday night against FC Dallas (10:30 pm ET; MLS Live). The Philadelphia Union visit Sunday (8 pm ET; Univision Dep.).
Rogers was sidelined for long segments of last season with sundry ailments and injuries and worked hard during the offseason to come into camp in top physical shape. He saw action in the preseason opener, then was shut down until late March.
He made his return in an April 13 USL PRO game with LA Galaxy II and made three more appearances, including two starts, for the club's reserve team. It's helped him rebuild sharpness.
"I think playing with 'Los Dos,' that those games were important," Rogers said. "And just getting consecutive weeks of training and not getting injured, knock on wood, and hopefully I can stay healthy and just keep improving and contributing in some way."
Head coach Bruce Arena said Rogers is making progress, but "he could probably use a few more full games with the Galaxy II. We'll just have to see as we move down the road."
Rogers saw time in his last Galaxy II appearance, two weeks ago, at left back, and he's been working in that slot during training the past few weeks. Arena calls him "an option" as the team builds depth with first-choice left back Todd Dunivant still dealing with an abdominal injury.
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"I enjoy playing there," Rogers said. "I played there briefly in the  Olympics and a little bit training with the national team, so it's not too unfamiliar. I can use my athleticism and get to face the whole field, so it's nice.
"… One thing I get carried away with sometimes: I like to pass and run off the ball. And sometimes as a defender, you just pass and have to stay back. Getting used to the priorities and responsibilities [of the position] is important for me."
Rogers was on the bench for LA’s May 11 draw at Portland, and he came on Saturday in the 70th minute, as a midfielder, for Baggio Husidic. He made a few nice runs and enjoyed a decent outing.
"That's a game you want to come in and help get a goal or kind of turn things around, so I think on that end it wasn't as much of a success as I would have liked it to be," Rogers said. "But I was pleased to get out there and get a run out because it's been a while since I played with the first team."