Saturday, January 24, 2009

Robbie Rogers to Get First Cap

Tune in tonight as Robbie Rogers makes his national team debut before his hometown fans in the stadium he watched be built as a youngster and where his Crew won the MLS Cup just two months ago.

While the line-ups won’t be released until game time, El Luchador has learned that it is a done deal: Coach Bob Bradley will start the 21-year old Crew stand-out in the friendly against Sweden at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Rogers will earn his first cap in front of family and friends.

Rogers is listed as a midfielder and will play in an attacking role in a 4-4-2 formation, El Luchador predicts. The game starts at 8:30 p.m. EST and is available on Fox Soccer Channel.

Rogers played for his country at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. And of course was outstanding as a starter for the men's 2008 US Olympic Team in Beijing. But this will be his first appearance with the big boys.

Unless the Chicago Fire’s Jon Busch (MLS goalkeeper of the year) gets injured and other things break his way, Wil Hesmer will warm the bench tonight.

Eddie Gaven and Brian Carroll could see action as substitutes in the midfield because injuries and overseas obligations have left Bradley with a somewhat shallow squad, and he will need to give some of the youngsters a chance.

Many of the U.S. regular starters are competing overseas, including Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu. So, Bradley is anxious to give playing time tonight to other players before the first World Cup qualifier Feb. 11 against Mexico in C-Bus.

Big Chad Marshall had to leave the training camp due to knee injury, but he is reported to be recovering well. He should be good to go as the Crew report for preseason this Sunday.

Watch the game at Claddagh Irish Pub (585 S. Front St.) where Frankie Hejduk will be on hand, according to brother Crewfighter.

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