“Join the Pride” is a mantra for Real Salt Lake that played itself out over the weekend as the club supported Utah Pride and its Grand Marshal David Testo.
Testo is the first Major League Soccer alumnus to come out of the closet as well as the first out man to be elected to the US Soccer Athletic Council. He serves on the board of the You Can Play Project, too. He told Utah Pride:
I’m very honored and proud to be a part of such a special event like Pride in Utah. For me it is special because I know where the country stands right now and it’s a very pivotal moment for LGBT people. The movement we are trying to create towards equality is like a snowball turning into an avalanche and Salt Lake City is a place where this message is so important. I hope I can help whoever needs it, be an inspiration for others, and spread the word of equality and acceptance.
To say that the past week has been a whirlwind would be a bit of an understatement.
It was a stormy afternoon in Austin, Texas, last Friday. I thought I had caught a break in the rain and headed home only for the skies to open up again while I was riding the bus. I was soaked to the bone when I arrived in my apartment and after a week when I had to work both day and night shifts at my job, I was drenched, tired, and generally miserable.
Of course, the news started coming across Twitter while I was taking a long shower to warm up a bit. The LA Galaxy would be holding a press conference the next day and the buzz was that it was going to be an announcement of the trade for Robbie Rogers. I booked a flight.
It was JetBlue, so I could keep the television tuned to ESPN where SportsCenter featured Rogers hourly, calling it “sports history.” I got a little choked up when I stepped into the terminal and Rogers’ face was on a series of televisions in the airport bar. A crazy weekend was ahead.
May is done, and we wrap up our MLS team-by-team recruitment for our Allies List with another team with seven, Toronto FC.
Toronto made an amazing You Can Play video last year with lots of participants speaking multiple languages in addition to players joining our list in other ways. Their seven are Justin Braun, Richard Eckersley, Logan Emory, Stefan Frei, Darren O’Dea, Ryan Richter, and Luis Silva. Braun also posed for NOH8 with Philadelphia’s Michael Lahoud when both were at Chivas USA.
Yesterday we gained our fiftieth new ally for May. Today we continue a week of looking at teams with the most allies before this drive with the Philadelphia Union.
Eight Union players are on the allies list, including one recruited by a fan who asked just a few weeks ago: Danny Cruz, Michael Farfan, Ray Gaddis, Michael Lahoud, Sebastien Le Toux, Zac MacMath, Amobi Okugo, and Carlos Valdes. Michael Lahoud also participated in the NOH8 Campaign, being the first professional athlete to pose for a picture with a teammate.
Editor’s note: We won’t be recapping every game Robbie Rogers plays, but last night presented a unique opportunity: MLS’ first out player taking the field with another out player in attendance. Stephen Bickford recaps the match for us.
On Wednesday night, the Galaxy traveled to Cary, NC to take on the NASL’s Carolina Railhawks in the US Open Cup third round. The Galaxy’s lack of respect for the Railhawks, and the US Open Cup was extremely apparent, as the team traveled without head coach Bruce Arena, assistant Dave Sarachan, and the vast majority of their first team.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a blatant show of disrespect to an opponent, or to the game of football as Arena & Co. displayed with his lack of involvement and obvious disinterest in a perceived inferior competition, against an inferior opponent. One begs to ask, if you don’t care about the US Open Cup, why participate in the tournament at all?
Now we head into the final days of May with teams that start with eight allies each and the first is the Portland Timbers.
Portland fans have been great about asking their favorite players to sign on and right now the list has Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Jack Jewsbury, Will Johnson, Miloš Kocić, Rauwshan McKenzie, Ryan Miller, Brent Richards, and Sal Zizzo.
Many eyes were on Major League Soccer Sunday night as Robbie Rogers made his historic return to the game. Here’s a look at how some outlets covered the event.
ESPN SportsCenter, including Rogers’ pregame prediction and postgame interview:
Their supporters had their ally-ship on display this past weekend, and now it’s time to ask New England Revolution players to sign on as well.
Seven players on the Revolution are currently allies: Darrius Barnes, Ryan Guy, Stephen McCarthy, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, Clyde Simms, and A.J. Soares. In addition to our list, Stephen McCarthy is an Athlete Ally Ambassador and Clyde Simms made an It Gets Better video with DC United.
More Major League Soccer supporters groups had pride and anti-homophobia displays in the stands this past weekend. It’s all part of marking the International Day Against Homophobia that took place on May 17.
The New England Revolution shut out Toronto FC 2-0 Saturday and the Midnight Riders put on a huge display boasting marriage equality in all of the states in that corner of the country. The Comcast Sports Network gave them recognition on their broadcast of the match:
Robbie Rogers made his return to Major League Soccer in a match that saw his LA Galaxy shut out the Seattle Sounders.
The Galaxy certainly made it easy for head coach Bruce Arena to have some flexibility with second half substitutions, racking up all four of their goals in the first half of the match. In addition to being a part of the buildup to Sean Franklin’s opening goal, Robbie Keane scored his first hat trick in MLS, with a slick finish in the 24th minute and two converted penalties.
For the first half, it just seemed that whenever the Sounders captured possession, they would get the ball up the field then just fall apart. The second was a bit more balanced with chances for both sides, including a very nice 68th minute shot from Landon Donovan coupled with a nice save from Michael Gspurning.
Robbie Rogers was substituted into the game in the 77th minute for Juninho. He took the field, the crowd roared, and the game continued. When the whistle blew for full time, the LA Galaxy walked away with a 4-0 win.
Rogers got in a few touches, won a one-on-one battle, and generally looked good out there on the field. And immensely happy.
In the post-game press conference Bruce Arena emphasized that judgement will come for Rogers over the next weeks and months, and Rogers himself said true tests will come on narrower pitches where he will have less space to work with. The goal is to continue to get Rogers playing time and experience back in the game.
That next experience will come Wednesday as the Galaxy take on the Carolina Railhawks in the next round of the U.S. Open Cup. With the crew Arena is sending to Cary, Rogers sees himself somewhat as a senior figure, an older player who can share past Cup experience with other players who haven’t had as much play in the century-old tournament.
But all in all, the game was perfect. It was normal. And Rogers wouldn’t have had it any other way.