Mid-Day Ticker: Rogers returns to action, MLS owners make SBJ list and more

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A few weeks after an ominous Leeds United debut, Robbie Rogers is back in action.

The American winger played in a club friendly against Carlisle United and scored on Tuesday, marking his return to the field for Leeds after suffering a concussion in his debut on Feb. 18. After coming on as a 79th-minute substitute, Rogers clashed heads with Doncaster Rovers' Tommy Spurr on a 50-50 ball and had to be taken off in stoppage time.

Rogers started and went the distance in the friendly, taking a major step forward in returning to Leeds' first team. Leeds, which sits four points off the pace for a spot in the League Championship promotion playoff, has a crucial game with West Ham this weekend, the first chance Rogers will have to make his second appearance since completing his transfer.

Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:

PAULSON, HEINEMAN MAKE SBJ LIST

The Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City are two of Major League Soccer's fastest-growing franchises and boast two of the best environments to catch a game in the league, and the work put forth by the clubs' respective leadership groups has not gone unnoticed.

Timbers owner and president Merritt Paulson and SKC president, CEO and co-owner Robb Heineman both made Sports Business Journal's Forty Under 40 list as two of the more influential, young executives in the sports industry.

Executives with soccer ties were well-represented elsewhere on the list, as AEG COO Chris McGowan and SUM Marketing senior vice president David Wright were among those who also made the cut.

JAPAN, UAE QUALIFY FOR OLYMPICS

The number of open spaces at this summer's Olympic soccer tournament is shrinking.

Japan and the United Arab Emirates became the latest nations to qualify for the Olympics, doing so by finishing atop their qualifying groups at the Asian Football Confederation tournament. Group runners-up Oman, Uzbekistan and Syria will compete for a berth in a final playoff round against Senegal.

As it stands, the Olympic field currently is comprised of Team Great Britain, Japan, UAE, South Korea, Brazil, Uruguay, Spain, Switzerland, Belarus, Egypt, Morocco and Gabon. Four spots remain, with CONCACAF holding two of those places, Oceania having one and the Asia-Africa playoff determining the other. 

VALENCIA BACK, NANI OUT FOR MAN UTD

Manchester United will welcome Antonio Valencia back to the lineup for their crucial UEFA Europa League second-leg match with Athletic Bilbao on Thursday.

Valencia has been out with a hamstring injury for the last month, and his return comes at a favorable time, as Portuguese midfielder Nani did not make the trip. Anderson and Phil Jones are also out for United.

Bilbao sits in the driver's seat after a thrilling 3-2 victory at Old Trafford, forcing the English favorites to the brink of an exit in the competition's Round of 16.

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Happy to see Rogers back on the field? Impressed with what Paulson and Heinemann have been able to accomplish? What do you think of the Olympic soccer tournament field? Do you think Bilbao will eliminate the Red Devils?

Share your thoughts below.

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8 Responses to Mid-Day Ticker: Rogers returns to action, MLS owners make SBJ list and more

  1. 2tone says:

    If the U.S.qualify’s(which I fully expect them to) I really hope they get a good draw at the Olympics. Good to see Rogers playing again. Hopefully he starts to get more minutes for Leeds.

  2. 2tone says:

    Spain, Brazil, and Great Britain will probably be slated as the favorites to win gold at the Olympics. I think the U.S. will definitely have a squad that will be very capable of medaling at the Olympics( if they qualify.)

  3. Chef says:

    Uruguay will be tough also.

  4. irant_irave says:

    Wrong Rogers.

  5. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    I would love to see Team GB come together, but I’m not sure the Scots are going to be totally supportive of it.

  6. Brian says:

    Lol. I don’t think any Scots deserve to make Team GB. Wales have Ramsey and Bale, but other than that it will probably be all English.

  7. Pepe says:

    South Korea will win it all. You heard it here first.

  8. primoone says:

    Rogers in a USA kit makes me cringe.