How much are the folks in Major League Soccer's offices watching Robbie Rogers training with the L.A. Galaxy and thinking of Brian McBride?
How quick will the folks in the Chicago Fire front office be to remind MLS executives about McBride?
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Rogers was released from his contract with Leeds United in England in January and, after announcing that he is gay, retired from professional soccer. Now that a few months have passed and his announcement has been well-received by MLS players and fans, Rogers is getting the itch to play again and is training with his hometown team, the Galaxy.
Here's your "Only in MLS" moment: His MLS rights are held by the Fire, acquired in February via trade with the Columbus Crew.
Imagine Bears first-round draft pick Kyle Long going to training camp with the Oakland Raiders. Only in MLS, a single-entity league that closely oversees almost everything that goes on with its teams.
It's seems likely that if Rogers plays again, it will be with the two-time defending MLS Cup champion Galaxy, which will have to work out a trade for his rights with the Fire.
Fire coach Frank Klopas said after training Tuesday he would love to have Rogers, a 25-year-old former U.S. international winger, play for his struggling club. Klopas said that he has not heard from the Galaxy about a trade.
If trade talk begins, who has the leverage?
Can Klopas, president of soccer operations Javier Leon and vice president of soccer operations Guillermo Petrei hold out for top-notch compensation, like Toronto FC did when Arlington Heights-native McBride decided in 2008 to return from England and made it known he wanted to retire with his hometown team, the Fire?
Or will MLS, fearing a public-relations nightmare if this saga drags out (like it did with McBride, still a sore subject in Bridgeview), insist the Fire take whatever Galaxy coach Bruce Arena offers? The league might want to look progressive by welcoming Rogers, not to mention all the publicity it would receive just for having an openly gay player on a roster. And Rogers has the talent to do much more than occupy a spot on an MLS roster.
Only in MLS.
Fire right back Wells Thompson sat out Saturday's loss at Montreal after being suspended by the league for a harsh tackle against Columbus. Thompson played in Wednesday's reserve match against FC Dallas -- a 2-1 Fire victory -- and picked up 2 yellow cards. That trend has Klopas concerned.
"Yeah, we have to be smart," Klopas said. "He's an experienced guy. You can't be reckless in the back, for sure. ... You've got to be smart He's not a young kid. He's a veteran guy."
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