Houston Dynamo v Columbus Crew

Pros and cons of the Robbie Rogers arrival into L.A.

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First things first as we analyze the Galaxy’s side of Friday’s talker of a trade, the MLS swap that brings winger Robbie Rogers to the Galaxy in exchange for Mike Magee, an unlikely league scoring leader in 2013:

The question that most needs asking is whether the Galaxy get a version of Rogers that looked more like the fleet left winger who worked the touchlines to good effect for most of his time in Columbus? Or do they get the deflated version, the one whose personal struggles came so close to driving him out of the professional game?

For now, we’ll assume Rogers is going to find his way and once again make good use of the speed and technique that made him a U.S. international. (Don’t forget, he will always be the answer to the trivia query, “Who scored the very first U.S. goal under Jurgen Klinsmann?”)

Rogers will not replace the goals that Magee takes with him to Chicago. Just not going to happen. He scored just four goals in his last three seasons at Crew Stadium.

Rogers was always a set-up man in Columbus, someone who could run at defenders and create space for others by occupying the outside backs, forcing them to respect his speed and thereby stretching defenses horizontally and vertically.

Rogers’ crossing was always just so-so, but the threat he posed was always useful – all of which is why Leeds was happy to bring him over in January of 2012, even though things just didn’t work out for Rogers with the famed English club.

The Galaxy, good as Bruce Arena’s team has done this year, are missing something in 2013: minus David Beckham’s pinpoint passing over distance, defenses have figured out that they can compact the field to greater effect. Without the threat of Beckham pinging balls so accurately in behind the back line, they can cheat forward more aggressively, closing passing lanes and limited midfield space as they do.

(MORE: Mike Magee’s arrival can only help in Chicago)

Other than Landon Donovan, who is still getting his legs beneath him, the Galaxy does miss some pace in the attacking positions.

Well, Rogers has pace. Always has.

His presence on the left could force defenders to retreat a bit, to back out of the midfield faster, all of which creates operating space for Juninho or Donovan or whomever has the ball in L.A.’s midfield.

Plus, Rogers’ speed adds to the Galaxy’s counter-attack, among the champions’ top weapons when they get into the flow of it.

The other side, the “con” aspect of it looks like this: Donovan and Keane will miss matches this summer, no doubt. Both will be on international duty at some point, Donovan for the United States and Keane for Ireland.

Simply put, Arena’s team will sorely miss Magee’s ability near goal. Rogers may be around to stretch defenses and to shape some crosses from the left, but who will be there to get on the end of them?

(MORE: Galaxy trades Magee for Rogers’ rights)

VIDEO: Alex Morgan scores goal against Costa Rica in 12 seconds

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The United States got off to a historically roaring start in Olympic qualifying. Taking on Costa Rica in Frisco, Texas to begin Group A play, Alex Morgan opened the scoring in just 12 seconds, taking just six passes to complete the masterpiece.

According to the USWNT twitter account, the goal is the fastest in U.S. Soccer history.

According to CONCACAF, the goal is also the quickest in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, breaking Abby Wambach’s of 35 seconds in a 14-0 domination of the Dominican Republic in 2012.

[ WATCH LIVE: USWNT vs Costa Rica live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

The United States scored three goals in the first 15 minutes against Costa Rica tonight. They will take on Mexico and Puerto Rico across the next five days.

Watch Live: USWNT vs Costa Rica in Olympic qualifying

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 23:  (L-R) Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States is congratulated by teammate Alex Morgan #13 after a goal against Ireland at Qualcomm Stadium on January 23, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
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The United States women are set to begin Group A play in Olympic qualification, taking on 36th ranked Costa Rica at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The game takes place after a 17-day camp at the national training camp in Carson, California.

[ WATCH LIVE: USWNT vs Costa Rica live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

Other teams in the group include Mexico and Puerto Rico. The Mexicans dominated Puerto Rico 6-0 in the first game.

LINEUP

United States: Solo; Krieger, Johnston, Sauerbrunn, Klingenberg; Brian, Horan, Dunn, Lloyd, Heath; Morgan.

Columbus, NYCFC release new kits to mixed results

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New York City FC
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Two Major League Soccer clubs have put their kits out there for the 2016 season. They’ve received a mediocre welcome at best.

Columbus was the first, and their kit makes a bold statement moving away from the traditional yellow and black that so often adorns their regular shirts. Instead, the kit incorporates the Columbus flag onto it. The release has seen quite a negative reaction on social media.

The kit was unveiled at the Columbus City Hall on Wednesday, featuring the traditional adidas stripes, although instead of the usual placement on the shoulders, the stripes come down the side of the torso. Recently, adidas has the tendency to copy general jersey patterns across its multiple properties, so look for this design with other clubs in the near future.

The negative reaction to the Columbus release isn’t terribly surprising considering fans often enjoy sticking to tradition, and backlash is common when clubs deviate from the norm. As an additional hurdle, the color contrast between red and yellow is somewhat stark, lending to the difficult reception. Add in the bright pastel blue shorts and…yikes.

While the club didn’t describe how they will utilize this kit during the season, it’s likely to be the primary (at least for now) as the club release says the kit portfolio also includes last year’s black kit, which is traditionally the away kit.

NYCFC’s release of their secondary kit was more positive, receiving a mixed response on social media.

As you can see, adidas again copied their general outline with the stripes down the side of the torso. However, the German clothing manufacturer did much better with the general design of these kits than the Columbus ones. I will give a bit of personal opinion here: I absolutely love these kits. The ripple effect accentuates the crest with a near-3D effect, and the colors mesh perfectly which serves to assuage the eye from being overwhelmed by a busy design. If there’s any criticism, it’s that without an outline, the Etihad logo tends to get in the way a bit, but that’s nitpicking. Well done NYCFC. Columbus…I’ll leave that one to you all.

Men In Blazers podcast: Romelu Lukaku Pod Special

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Rog and Davo break down Leicester City’s 3 – 1 win at Manchester City, marvel at Spurs going second in the table, and talk about the headlines surrounding the mid-table clash between Chelsea and United.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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