In the end, it seems it was a situation of two players needing to change up their surroundings. For Robbie Rogers, he had returned to his family in Los Angeles after closing things up with Leeds United and coming out as gay. For Mike Magee, family in Chicago called him home.
RE: Rogers move to Galaxy. LA was interested in him well B4 he came out as gay. Chicago knew of LA interest when they acquired his rights— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) May 25, 2013
LA was interested in bringing in Robbie Rogers from the time he left Leeds. According to Ives Garlarcep, Chicago knew this when they acquired his rights from the Columbua Crew. From the reports of the last few days, Magee was Chicago's man and from what Bruce Arena has said Magee wanted to return to Chicago. So a deal was struck.
Robbie Rogers will wear no. 14, and if the Galaxy get ahold of his transfer certificate by Sunday evening he'll be available for selection in the 18 man roster. Since Rogers ended things with Leeds United this isn't actually a transfer, which is how it's able to take place outside of MLS' transfer window.
"We're pleased to have Robbie [Rogers] as a member of our team. We've been searching for the last year or two for a player that has the skills to be a flank player; play wide and add a little speed to our club. [Someone] who can take on players, good crosser of the ball with both his feet. He offers us qualities that we've been looking for. We're hopefully that in time Robbie's going to demonstrate the kind of qualities he has previously in this league as a former All-Star and a member of a championship team."
It's a search that's saw LA bring in Christian Wilhelmsson. When Wilhelmsson left, LA went after Colin Clark in the re-entry draft. With Clark's form not qualifying him for selection in the starting XI, Arena against sought out that wide midfielder with the quick foot.
"I'd like to thank everyone at Major League Soccer, the LA Galaxy and the Chicago Fire for allowing me to return to playing the game that I love," Rogers said. "I look forward to getting back out onto the field and continuing my soccer career as a member of the Galaxy."
Mike Magee had become a fan favorite. His hat trick against Chicago in the opener propelled him to a five goal month of March. He's only scored one goal in the last two months, but he also has moved back into the midfield after starting up top to begin the year.
It's always great to get goals from the midfield. Landon Donovan and Juninho are certainly going to be expected to contribute goals from that part of the pitch. This move to get Robbie Rogers and let Mike Magee go to Chicago shows a shift in focus. Bruce Arena wants more goal creators in the midfield. Players who consistently will get the ball on the foot of Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes, Jose Villarreal, and Jack McBean.
"My first day was a few week's back. To be totally honest with you I was afraid. Afraid to be back in an environment that affected me in the past. I spoke to Landon [Donovan] a little bit before that, want to see what he thought about the whole situation. After I finally got in here, everything was completely normal."
Thus is began for MLS' first openly gay player. With time he'll stop being Robbie Rogers the gay soccer player, but now these issues are important. The LA Galaxy locker room welcomed him, he wouldn't have stuck around if they didn't. How will the other players on the pitch treat him? How will away fans receive him?
Rogers seemed to feel MLS was ready. Things were progressive enough in the US soccer community that it will be just normal.
Which brings us back to the on the pitch stuff. After leaving Columbus Rogers only got four appearances with Leeds United. On loan with League One side Stevenage, Rogers managed seven appearances. There weren't any goals.
The hope is that talent will out. Rogers is familiar with LA, he trained here for two weeks when he was rehabbing his ankle last year. He's been training with the club now for about a month. Can Rogers return to being the player who won an MLS Cup with the Columbus Crew in 2008? We'll get to see first hand.