CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Rogers can finally see himself playing again for the LA Galaxy's first team in just a matter of weeks after receiving his first game action in two-and-a-half months.
The veteran winger, who has been out since he was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his left ankle following the preseason opener, was a second-half substitute for LA Galaxy II on Sunday, getting about 40 minutes in a 3-0 USL PRO loss to the visiting Sacramento Republic.
“[It] felt great,” Rogers told reporters following the game at StubHub Center's Track and Field Stadium. “It's been over two months now since [I played in] the first preseason game. Just took forever for the bone to heal, but it's nice to play a game.
“I've trained [fully] for about a week now, and it's nice to get into these games. Last year we didn't have a reserve team like this, so it would have been no way for me to get games. So this is just a great investment the Galaxy has made for our young players, for guys that are injured and it felt great to play again.”
Galaxy II coach Curt Onalfo was impressed with his Rogers' effort.
“I thought he stepped in and he looked sharp, he had a great presence, helped us create, get some balls in front of goal,” Onalfo said. “He had a solid performance.”
Rogers’ condition apparently is caused by overuse, and is one that could have been a lot worse.
“I've never really heard of [a stress reaction], but it's pretty much the bone in my talus is bleeding, it's damaged,” Rogers said when he returned to training about three weeks ago. “It's like a stress fracture. I've had a few MRIs, and you could see blood inside it. ...
"It's good I caught it when I did because if I would have more damage, I would have had microfracture [surgery], which obviously takes you out for the whole season.”
Sunday’s game was fast-paced and physical.
“Kind of choppy and not that fluid, so it was difficult to kind of find my way into it,” Rogers said. “But I felt all right. I felt quick at times and dangerous at times, so I'm happy with the way it went.”
- Get the latest headlines at LAGalaxy.com
Rogers has battled injuries and ailments since signing with the Galaxy last May after ending a brief retirement, and he didn't start rounding into form until the final weeks of the season. He saw action in one MLS Reserve League game last year, but the extended schedule in the third-tier USL PRO provides a better opportunity to gain game fitness before fighting for first-team time.
“You can only train so much,” Rogers said. “Last year, I was injured so much that my chance would be to come in at the end of a real game for 15 minutes, and I wouldn't be sharp, so I wouldn't help myself or the team. This way, I can play with these guys, but train with the first team, but get games with these guys. It's important.”
Rogers said he envisions spending a few more weeks with Galaxy II.
“I feel like a few more games, and I should be ready to go,” he said. “Games are so important, and I can't stress that enough. Hopefully, in a few games I'll be ready to play with the first team.”