FULLERTON, Calif. – One of these days, the LA Galaxy’s Mike Magee is going to run out of heroics.
It was only last Saturday in San Jose when the veteran forward took over as the team’s emergency goalkeeper when starter Donovan Ricketts was lost with a broken forearm and backup Josh Saunders was ejected. Magee played the final 47 minutes in goal, made four saves and helped preserve a 0-0 draw with Earthquakes.
Magee was named MLS Player of the Week and became the second Galaxy player to be so honored this season (Landon Donovan was the other).
Magee came through again in Tuesday’s Third Round Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Stadium by scoring the game-winning goal in the 81st minute for a hard-earned 2-1 victory over USL Pro League’s Los Angeles Blues.
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“I told him the other day it’d be nice if he helped us in the field once in a while,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said with a grin. “It was a great goal for him tonight. He played a good, smart game.”
The game was tied 1-1 late in regulation time when second half substitute Juninho sent a free kick to Omar Gonzalez deep into the Blues’ penalty area. Gonzalez headed it back toward the front of the net, where Magee scored easily with a low, right-footed shot from 12 yards out.
“Obviously a couple of times we were getting free with Omar and floating balls up to him, and he knocked it down,” Magee said of the decisive play. “He had done it the last three times without scoring a goal.
“It was a pretty easy tap-in.”
Just all in a day’s work as far as Magee was concerned. But his act might be getting tougher and tougher for him to follow.
“You guys are expecting too much now,” he said. “Hopefully we can keep winning.”
Count Gonzalez, who scored the tying goal in the 75th minute after the Blues took a 1-0 lead 13 minutes earlier, as one of Magee’s biggest fans.
“He’s always been great for us,” Gonzalez said. “I think the one thing I remember from my rookie year is him scoring the goal in the (2009 MLS) championship (an eventual loss to Real Salt Lake on penalty kicks). Last year he had some great moments, and this year probably one of my highlights is from looking back and having him just with the (goalkeeper’s) gloves on behind me.
“It’s just great having him here. He’s just really calm under pressure.”
Maybe he is now, but that certainly wasn’t the case last Saturday against the Earthquakes. Magee said he’s still having difficulty putting that wild day behind him, and scoring Tuesday’s game-winning goal didn’t really help much to steady his emotions.
“It’s been pretty nerve-wracking,” he said. “I’m still a little nervous from playing goalie. The butterflies haven’t left yet; I’m still crapping my pants.”