The 28-year-old defender bagged his first goal since coming out as gay on the MLS club's Pride Night.
LA Galaxy left-back Robbie Rogers’ first goal for the MLS Cup holders in Wednesday night’s 5-0 win over the Portland Timbers could not have come at a more appropriate time.
With the Galaxy celebrating their Pride Night, the first openly gay man to compete in a top North American professional sports league was playing in front of a home crowd that included a sizeable number of fans from the community he has come to represent since coming out in February 2013.
He fittingly marked the occasion by scoring for the first time in over four years just after the half-hour, racing onto captain Robbie Keane’s through ball before firing in for his side’s third goal.
Given the occasion, the former Leeds United winger was understandably emotional at the final whistle, telling the club’s official website: “I didn’t think I was going to be so emotional and I didn’t think it was going to have the impact that it did have on me, so it was a great way to cap off tonight.
“Tonight’s obviously Pride Night so it’s special and I think that’s why it was more emotional because I know there were a lot of people that had never been to the stadium before like my family, my boyfriend, his friends and a lot of people from West Hollywood.
“When I’m playing, obviously I’m playing for the Galaxy, these guys, my family and most importantly, myself, but I also feel like I’m playing for those in the LGBT community,” he added.
“Sometimes it has been tough for me and I’ve felt the pressure and from the moments like this and the [2014 MLS Cup] Championship, I never expected for me to find that pride or to be proud of coming from a community that doesn’t really have a huge footprint in sports. To be a part of it… It’s a special moment.”
Rogers, 28, has proved a revelation for LA since making the switch from midfield to full-back last term, with his impressive performances helping Bruce Arena’s men claim a third MLS Cup title in four seasons and earning him a new long-term contract in the process.
Marking an amazing turnaround since his brief retirement upon leaving Leeds in 2013, his form over the past 12 months has seen him hailed as the league’s best left-back and even earned him support for an international recall.
The 18-times capped American is still waiting for a call from Jurgen Klinsmann, having been overlooked for the upcoming Gold Cup, but if he keeps putting in performances like the one last night then it will be hard for the USA boss to ignore him for much longer.