Two last points on the Robbie Rogers trade news

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Looking back at it all, his ground-breaking announcement, his near brush with wildly premature retirement and his re-introduction into professional soccer, even Robbie Rogers is a little confused about why it was all such a big deal?

And what a wonderful development that is – not just for Rogers, but for all of us. Inching toward a time when none of this is a big deal says good things about societal progress.

Here’s what Rogers, who will soon be back on an MLS field after the LA Galaxy acquired his rights from the Chicago Fire, told the Associated Press on Friday:

I don’t know what I was so afraid of. It’s been such a positive experience for me. The one thing I’ve learned from all of this is being gay is not that big of a deal to people.

“People are just really growing and accepting and loving. Those other things are just not that important to them. I think as the younger get older and the generations come and go, I think times are just becoming more accepting.”

He had hints that things might just break this way back in February, when he broke the news on his own blog – leaving the game while announcing he was gay. The soccer nation was overwhelmingly supportive then.

But as recently as three weeks ago, as the former U.S. international stepped back into a locker room, joining the LA Galaxy for training, Rogers wondered how he would be seen and accepted.

Quickly, though, the Galaxy winger figured out that he was just another pair of feet, just another body in L.A. practice gear, same as the others.

He will surely be greeted a little differently than the others upon his first few appearances, positive acknowledgments of his courageous actions, if I’m guessing. (Even from opposing fans. I think … )

Soon enough, the newness and news value well wear off and Rogers will be … just another man in a Galaxy kit.

(MORE: Looking at the trade from Chicago’s side)

(MORE: Looking at the trade from the LA Galaxy’s side)

The other thing to say about Friday’s big MLS development is this:

Good on Chicago for not relenting on this one. By the looks of it, the Fire hammered out a pretty good exchange for Rogers’ rights (which they acquired from Columbus) for Mike Magee, one of the league’s scoring leaders this year.

It would have been easy for Chicago to cave here, to take 50 cents on the dollar, so to speak, as pressure mounted to get Rogers back in the league. Chicago didn’t seem to have a lot of leverage here, especially once Rogers said he just didn’t want to play in Illinois. (It was about his family in California, not about any disdain for figures around Toyota Park.)

MLS can always use another skilled set of feet, especially of the Born in the U.S.A. variety. But there was also the PR bonanza to be considered here; getting Rogers back into the league will help draw attention to a league that can always use more of it.

SB Nation’s Jeremiah Oshan writes about that one here, making the point that league critics absolutely cannot complain that the Galaxy got a sweetheart deal on this one. In the end, it may be a better deal for L.A.; we’ll need months or years to sort that one out. But sitting here today, it looks to almost everyone as though Chicago got more than fair value here.

(MORE: First chance to see Rogers with LA Galaxy will be … )

Barcelona plan Cruyff tribute at club’s training center

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) One year after his death, Barcelona says it will name the future stadium at its training center after Dutch great Johan Cruyff.

The new stadium at Barcelona’s training center just outside the Catalan city will be called “Johan Cruyff Stadium” in honor of the club’s former player and coach.

Barcelona says in a statement that “the most emblematic building in the facility where future Barca players are coached is to be named after somebody who played such a central role in fostering youth talent at the club.”

Barcelona also says it will commission a “commemorative sculpture” of Cruyff, who died of lung cancer on March 24 last year at age 68. The statue will be placed at Barcelona’s main Camp Nou stadium.

Cruyff is largely credited with launching Barcelona’s era of trophy success, both as a player and a coach.

As a player, Cruyff joined Barcelona midseason in 1973 and led the middle-of-the-table team to its first national title in a decade.

He later returned as a coach and guided Barcelona to four consecutive Spanish leagues from 1991-94 and the club’s first European Cup in 1992.

“I think the tributes are very warming,” said Cruyff’s son, Jordi Cruyff. “It sort of changes the sadness that we might feel as family to lose a father, a husband and a grandfather. It changes to a certain kind of pride to understand that he left something behind.”

MLS Snapshot: Defense optional — Crew SC outlast Timbers, 3-2

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The game in 100 words (or less): As far as teams who get out in the open field and score the lion’s share of their goals on the counter-attacking, there aren’t many MLS teams better than Columbus Crew SC and the Portland Timbers. The two sides met Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium, site of their MLS Cup 2015 clash, and lived up to their reputations. Of the five goals scored, two were notched on flat-out counters and two more came to pass through quick transitional movements. Portland (9 points) dropped their first points of the season, falling 3-2 to goals scored by Justin Meram, Ola Kamara and Niko Hansen, while Crew SC have back-to-back wins and find themselves level on points (7) with the New York Red Bulls with each side having played four games.

[ MORE: Saturday’s MLS (afternoon) roundup ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

4′ — Asprilla opens the scoring early on — 2017 Crew SC defending, same as 2016 Crew SC defending.

11′ — Meram fires home the rebound for 1-1 — One of Portland’s biggest weaknesses last season was their set-piece defending. Looks like not much has changed.

19′ — Higuain feeds Kamara for a 2-1 lead — The question mark that Portland will eventually have to answer is this: How much, if at all, have they improved defensively in the open field? Based on this Crew SC counter-attack, the answer might be “not much.”

45+3′ — Adi recovers to make it 2-2 — Everything Adi does these days (even the bad things, like this first touch) ends up being good.

84′ — Hansen cleans up at the back post for 3-2 — Jake Gleeson made a spectacular reaction save to deny Kamara his second goal of the game, but the rookie, making his MLS debut, was in the right place at the right time.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Wil Trapp

Goalscorers: Asprilla (4′), Meram (11′), Kamara (19′), Adi (45+3′), Hansen (84′)

Andorra’s 11-year, 58-game losing streak is over

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Rarely has a scoreless stalemate in front of the home fans tasted so sweet.

But 11 years of nothing but losing will do that to a team.

Andorra’s 0-0 draw with fellow minnow Faroe Islands in World Cup qualifying on Saturday ended its run of 58 competitive defeats.

It was the first point in qualifying for the Pyrenees mountain principality, population 80,000, since a scoreless draw with Finland in 2005.

Faroe Islands finished with 10 men after Joan Edmundsson was booked a second time with 15 minutes to play.

World Cup qualifiers: Dutch disaster persists; Greece hold Belgium

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s World Cup qualifying fixtures, as Groups A, B and H hit the halfway point in Europe…

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

Bulgaria 2-0 Netherlands

Spas Delev scored both Bulgarian goals (5th and 20th minutes) to secure all three points and send Danny Blind’s Netherlands side (7 points) into fourth place in Group A, six points back of leaders France and three back of second-place (qualifying playoffs) Sweden.

17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt was handed his international debut for the Dutch; he was ultimately at fault for both of Delev’s goals; he was subbed off at halftime (as was Georginio Wijnaldum).

Luxembourg 1-3 France

Olivier Giroud scored twice (28th and 77th minutes) for France, and Antoine Griezmann added the other (37th minute – penalty kick), as Les Bleus maintained their three-point lead in Group A. Kylian Mbappe, Monaco’s 18-year-old rising star, made his international debut in the 78th minute, when he replaced Dimitri Payet.

Portugal 3-0 Hungary

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged the 69th and 70th goals of his international career (36th and 65th minutes), as Portugal (12 points) kept pace with an unbeaten Switzerland side (15 points) which managed a 1-0 victory over Latvia to keep their 100-percent record intact. Andre Silva scored the opener (32nd minute) for Portugal, the 21-year-old Porto striker’s fifth goal in six international appearances.

Belgium 1-1 Greece

Romelu Lukaku‘s 89th-minute rescued a point for Group H leaders Belgium (13 points), but it did little to mask an otherwise uninspiring performance from Roberto Martinez’s side. Kostas Mitroglu put Greece ahead in the first minute of the second half, but Panagiotis Tachtsidis saw his second yellow of the game in the 65th minute, and that was the start of Greece’s unraveling. The draw was just enough to keep Greece (11 points) in second, ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose 5-0 thrashing of Gibraltar moved them to 10 points with a superior goal differential.

Elsewhere in UEFA’s World Cup qualifying

Group A

Sweden 4-0 Belarus

Group B

Switzerland 1-0 Latvia
Andorra 0-0 Faroe Islands

Group H

Bosnia-Herzegovina 5-0 Gibraltar
Cyprus 0-0 Estonia