CARSON, Calif. – During the group phase of the World Cup, Los Angeles Galaxy players had no games to prepare for and had a bit more free time than they would have had otherwise.
Mike Magee, though, one-upped his teammates with leisure time. And then some.
While MLS shut down in early June to relish in the global spectacle that was the World Cup, Magee was forced to shut down because of injury. In early June, a sports-hernia injury forced Magee to head to Germany in search of a quick fix. He underwent surgery in Munich and has just recently rejoined the club.
On Saturday in New York, Magee played his first league match since May 29 and was ecstatic to return.
“The first 10 minutes I was a little hesitant and it was a little weird to be out there, had some nerves and stuff,” Magee said. “But once I settled down, I thought I did well. To come in like that and get a win on the road, it couldn’t have been a better return.”
Magee replaced Edson Buddle in the 61st minute and helped the Galaxy stave off New York to win 1-0. With those first minutes out of the way, Magee said he looks forward to fully regaining his fitness and is looking forward to contributing more to the Galaxy.
“I’m slowly getting fitness and even though it was only 30 minutes, it’s usually the first 30 minutes coming back from injury that are usually the hardest,” he said. “It’s definitely nice to get that out of the way and get the win. I feel like I got my legs underneath me.”
Magee had started nine games before injuring himself. His last game before he sought treatment in Munich – where many MLS players over the years have been treated – was in a 2-0 win against the Columbus Crew on May 29. While the upside to surgery was having the chance to play retake the pitch relatively soon, there was a downside.
“It was a little bit lonely,” Magee said. “I went there by myself and I kind of had an idea of what I thought it would be, and it was nothing like [that]. [Munich] is nice, but you’re literally by yourself for like five days. I just kind of kicked it for the last four days. I think I watched every different season of every different show through iTunes that you could possibly imagine. I was happy to get home and watch some normal stuff.”
However, the worst part of his rehabilitation wasn’t trying to find something decent to watch on German television but rather watching his team hit a bit of a rough patch.
In the first full week of July, the Galaxy had three games in three different cities in a seven-day stretch. They lost two of them: at Seattle in a US Open Cup match on July 7 and at New England in a regular-season game three days later.
“You never want to get hurt, especially in the midway point of the season, kind of struggling at times and knowing that [the team] needs everyone,” Magee said. “They needed depth with a lot of games – the Open Cup, the start of the Champions [League]. I wish I could have been there to help.”
Even though the Galaxy picked up their first shutout since June 26 on Saturday, Magee said his team was mostly offset by the schedule and that LA should be fine now that the calendar has improved.
“The biggest thing was that we had a lot of games,” Magee said. “Now, going back to one game a week, it’s going to bring us back to the team of old … and we can keep our focus on winning the MLS Cup.”