Over four-day span, Galaxy's Magee has become legend
CARSON, Calif. — Before the LA Galaxy’s game at San Jose last Saturday, Mike Magee was just another player, a mere mortal if you will.
In a span of four days, though, he became a legend.
An attacking player throughout his entire career, Magee kept a clean sheet for more than 45 minutes in an emergency situation against the Quakes — good enough to earn him MLS Player of the Week honors — then followed it up with a game-winning goal in a 2-1 US Open Cup victory over the LA Blues on Tuesday.
Can Magee top perhaps the most exhilarating and productive four-day stretch of his career?
“Oh, man, you guys are expecting too much now,” he said after his game-winning goal. “I don't know. Hopefully, keep winning.”
The only thing with more steam than Magee’s rise to LA prominence is the club’s 10-match league unbeaten run. The Galaxy last lost a game on May 1 and have been a force since.
Magee has played a role in that. He has played in all 10 games on the team’s streak, starting seven of them. Perhaps his most significant moments, though, came on Saturday. Donovan Ricketts returned to the starting lineup but a collision and subsequent broken bone in his arm sent him to the sidelines. Josh Saunders stepped in but a red card knocked him out of the match.
Enter Magee. Never having played in goal before — not even in a non-competitive match — Magee nonetheless volunteered to fill in at goal, and a legend was born.
Magee made four saves and preserved a scoreless draw. Not only did Galaxy fans take notice, but so, too, did the league as Magee was named MLS Player of the Week for his performance. Thus, he became the first goalkeeper to win the award this year.
Not all legends, though, are seamless.
“It’s been pretty nerve-wracking,” he said. “I’m still a little nervous from playing goalie. The butterflies haven’t left yet.”
Alas, his new-found Midas touch was not limited to goalkeeping duties. The Galaxy fell behind to the third-division Blues with less than a half-hour remaining in their USOC match on Tuesday. Omar Gonzalez tied the game up with a quarter-hour remaining, setting up Magee’s heroics.
On a free kick, Gonzalez got his head to the ball and knocked it to the far post. Magee rifled the ball into the back of the net, punctuating his meteoric rise to fame.
How much fame has Magee gained? After his performance against San Jose, Magee was a worldwide trending topic on Twitter, and the banter has not died down since.
“Luckily, I don't have a Twitter account, because I've heard it's been pretty intense on Twitter,” he said. “I've gotten a lot of texts and phone calls from family and friends. They're having a good time with it."
Magee began the season as a forward, starting the Galaxy’s season opener at Seattle up top alongside Chad Barrett. A spot opened up in the midfield when LA lost Landon Donovan to injury before a trip to D.C. United and Magee slid into the midfield. Overall, Magee has started 14 matches and has come on as a substitute in three others, and aside from his cameo in goal, he’s played solely in the midfield.
“Over the last six years, I’ve kind of realized that I’ve played pretty much everywhere,” Magee said. “I don’t think there have been many weeks beside this year where I’ve trained at one position which is something that has kind of done me favors throughout my career where I’ve gotten to play a lot but it’s also hurt me at times where I haven’t been able to practice in any one position."
Now that he had a taste at goalkeeper, will Magee consider putting the gloves on once more?
“I don't even want to think about goalie ever again,” he said. “Seriously.”