062613_mageerogers_isi_mlsdb05262013219 Brian Kersey/Chicago Fire, David Bernal/isiphotos.com
MLS Watch

Who Won the Mike Magee for Robbie Rogers Trade?

In May, the LA Galaxy and the Chicago Fire exchanged attackers. Jon Arnold takes a look at which team came out on top of the trade, finding that the obvious victor might not be the actual one.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
June 26, 2013
11:00 AM
Robbie Rogers made his debut for the LA Galaxy one month ago. It came during a Sunday night MLS game of the Week on ESPN. Rogers came out as gay (and retired) in a February blog post, and his entrance into the 4-0 win against Seattle understandably made all the highlight shows and earned mention in media spanning the globe.

Mike Magee’s Chicago Fire debut could be seen around the world as well but came in front of far fewer flashbulbs and fans. The network transmitting the Fire’s US Open Cup Internet stream from Charlotte kicked to life just in time to show Magee heading in a goal in the 11th minute. He later moved the ball to Chris Rolfe who smashed in a tremendous shot and capped the 2-0 victory. The novelty of an openly gay player will soon fade, and the trade will be processed in the same manner fans judge all personnel moves: by results. To that effect, the Galaxy took a calculated risk in moving Magee. The attacker was on a tear. He was tied for third with six league goals at the time of the trade, and he has scored four goals since then to move into a tie for the lead. The MLS veteran had long been a favorite of the Angel City Brigade for his excellent playoff performances and his willingness to take a quiet role in the presence of international superstars like David Beckham and Landon Donovan. In their absence at this season’s opening, however, Magee took it upon himself to fill the gap and helped steer the Galaxy to an unbeaten first month.

But Mike Magee isn’t “Hollywood” and was open to a move back to his native Chicago. It’s unlikely the 28-year-old’s trade value will ever be higher, and he has provided immediate help to his new club. He combined beautifully with the struggling Rolfe several times during the cup match, a partnership that had Fire fans salivating. It has turned out they were drooling for good reason. It’s no accident the Fire are on a five-match unbeaten streak in MLS play in the past month.

Rogers, on the other hand, will take longer to make an impact. He also made it clear that he had no interest in playing in the Windy City after the Fire acquired his rights along with Dilly Duka in a trade with Rogers’ former MLS team, Columbus. He wanted to be in Southern California near family and friends who will support him. Los Angeles is probably a good situation for him on the pitch as well. Unlike with most other MLS teams, he’s surrounded by a deep club that doesn’t need a quick shot in the arm right away. He’d been training with the team for a month but had played only one official match in 2013 before retiring.

It’s clear Rogers won’t yield immediate results, though consecutive starts indicate Bruce Arena sees Rogers as an important contributor to the team. If he can find the form that saw him named to Bob Bradley’s Gold Cup teams in 2009 and 2011 it would be a welcome sign. A U.S. call-up is a long way off at this point, but at 26 it’s not outrageous to think one could come by becoming a Galaxy regular. Of course, that’s the same position Magee was in: a regular Galaxy midfielder on the outside looking into the national team picture.

Both players will seek to help their teams this week. Magee and the Fire host Orlando City in an Open Cup quarterfinal Wednesday and Rogers and the Galaxy head to San Jose for a Saturday match with the Earthquakes.

Whether or not Magee and Rogers play, it's clear that each man has found a spot where he belongs.

Jon Arnold is an ASN contributing editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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