EDITORIAL: Fire need to be fairly compensated in any Rogers trade deal
“I don't want to go to Chicago," Rogers said. "I think if it comes down to you can only play in Chicago, then I probably won't go back. I need to do it somewhere where I'm totally 100 percent comfortable so ... I would most likely do it closest to my family.”
The above are some of the blunt comments that Robbie Rogers made about his potential return to MLS on Sunday following his first week of training with the LA Galaxy.
Despite his statements yesterday, Fire President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon signaled the Fire still have a view of trying to bring Rogers to Chicago.
“He's a young guy with so much potential ahead of him and we still have the interest in having the opportunity to sit down and speak with him about what kind of opportunity he may have with the Fire,” Leon, told the Chicago Tribune on Sunday.
“That's my expectation after speaking with his agent; we're talking about doing something (this) week.”
To be fair, even before his coming out earlier this year, trading Rogers’ rights was always thought to be the first case if he decided to return to Major League Soccer.
Those rights seemed to be the caveat, the equalizing factor and likely the point of contention that held up the long-rumored trade that saw Dilly Duka and Dominic Oduro switch sides between Chicago and Columbus back in February.
If you followed me on Twitter Sunday, I pointed to the Fire’s somewhat drawn out acquisition of Brian McBride’s rights from Toronto FC back in 2008 as a guiding precedent in the matter.
— Jeff Crandall (@JefeCrandall) May 5, 2013
If you remember, McBride wanted to close out his career with his hometown club and no doubt welcoming one of the top American players of all-time to Toyota Park was more than worth doing for the Fire.
The ability to bring the Arlington Heights product back to Chicago did cost the team though in the way of giving up allocation money, their 2009 first round draft selection and budding striker Chad Barrett.
In terms of the player given up, the then 23-year-old forward led the Fire in goals the previous year and at the time of his trade to Toronto FC, was leading the team with five strikes on the season.
No, Robbie Rogers is not Brian McBride and I don’t believe that any potential deal the Galaxy or another west coast team should be nearly as heavy. But he does have proven success in Major League Soccer, 18 international caps to his name and is making quite clear where he would like his desired destination to be.
In that vein, should Rogers return to the game and the only desirable destination is LA, one would hope Major League Soccer ensures a fair deal goes through.
Is that players? Perhaps…
Sunday I used the McBride/Barrett trade precedent to argue a case for the Fire going after joint MLS leading goal scorer Mike Magee.
Magee’s numbers since joining the Galaxy (102 GP, 19 G, 11 A; 2009-present) are strikingly similar to those of Barrett with the Fire (82GP, 18 G, 11 A; 2005-08) in roughly the same amount of time.
Magee’s current form though (six goals in eight matches this year) would make this deal a lot more difficult than it would have been at this time last season.
With the Fire somewhat thin on the backline, if Magee is out of reach, perhaps a move to collect Sean Franklin or A.J. DeLaGarza could be in the cards.
Perhaps it’s not worth it to speculate about players but like has been pointed out by Extra Time Radio, Alexi Lalas and Steve Davis, Rogers rights carry value, its why the Fire traded for them to begin with.
Whether that value comes from a player in a position of need, allocation money, draft picks or some combination of all three, should Rogers insist his return to the game be made in Southern California, the onus is on the league to make sure a fair transaction is to be had.