CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s Mike Magee is in his ninth season in Major League Soccer and would like nothing better than to win his first MLS Cup.
The versatile 27-year-old has been willing to go to great lengths this season to achieve that goal, from playing emergency goalkeeper (and earning a scoreless tie against San Jose on June 25) to scoring the lone goal in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals. The second leg rematch is Thursday at The Home Depot Center (8 p.m., ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.com, live chat at lagalaxy.com/gamedaylive).
Seemingly the only thing he hasn’t done for this year’s team is coach it.
“Hopefully not,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said Tuesday after training. “Then that means I would have to play or get a job.”
It has been a memorable year, to say the least, for Magee, who was acquired from the Red Bulls for a draft pick on Jan. 14, 2009. He’s tied for second on the team with eight goals in all competitions, tallying five in the regular season, one in postseason, one in the CONCACAF Champions League and one in the U.S. Open Cup.
But don’t ask him to reflect on his accomplishments to this point. He’s been too busy to look back. And besides, he isn’t finished yet.
“I think earlier in my career I would kind of look back too soon,” he said. “I’ll do that once the season ends and reflect and try to figure out what I can do better.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time.”
WATCH: Magee's game-winner in NY
Magee, seemingly in the right place at the right time all season, was there again Sunday in New York. He had just missed heading in the rebound of Robbie Keane’s shot in the 12th minute, but it was only three minutes later when he collected a long pass from David Beckham and scored past Red Bulls goalie Frank Rost with his left foot for the game’s only goal.
No, he said with a grin, he would not like to have another chance on that header.
“I don’t need to have it back,” he said. “We won 1-0. It was more of a reaction than anything. It was self-defense. It came so quick I actually could have missed it.
“I’m happy I at least didn’t miss it.”
He hasn’t missed much, if anything, this season, his teammates said.
“He’s done great,” said Chris Birchall, who could start in place of the suspended Juninho in Thursday’s rematch. “But it’s not really a surprise. I’ve been playing with him and training with him for 2 1/2 years.
“He’s done well when he’s been out there and he’s going to stay there, and rightfully so.”
Magee said there’s no secret to his success.
“We have a great team and I’ve had a pretty good year,” he said. “I think just staying healthy and staying on the field has allowed me to play more and do what I do and help the team more than I have in the past.
“I’ve always had high expectations with this team. Being in the league for nine years, I’ve wanted to win MLS Cup. That’s been my goal for as long as I’ve been in this league. The need for it just grows greater. I kept believing in myself and I knew I could help the team achieve that.
“I’ve dedicated myself to that goal.”
The Galaxy face the Red Bulls on Thursday, November 3 at 8 p.m. at The Home Depot Center in the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinal Series. Tickets are still available! BUY NOW