The LA Galaxy may have lifted their second straight MLS Cup in December, but had it not been for some heroics by Mike Magee in LA’s Knockout Round match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, LA’s season may have had a far different narrative.
Mike Magee postgame interview
LA entered the match against Vancouver as heavy favorites against the reeling Whitecaps, who limped into the postseason as the Western Conference’s fifth seed. But LA was dealing with issues of their own as the Galaxy were forced to make do without right back Sean Franklin, who missed the match due to a hamstring injury.
Whitecaps FC shocked the Galaxy by jumping out to a fourth minute lead when Darren Mattocks beat LA ‘keeper Josh Saunders. With the lead, Vancouver packed it in their defensive third, often putting nine or ten men behind the ball to limit the Galaxy’s attacking options. That tactic worked until the 70th minute when Magee came to the rescue.
The goal came off a David Beckham corner as the Galaxy midfielder played a short pass to Juninho, who fired a cross towards Magee in the center of the penalty area. With plenty of room, Magee launched a side-footed volley that sailed past Whitecaps goalkeeper Brad Knighton to bring the Galaxy level. The goal caused an immense momentum shift as LA continued to bombard the Vancouver net in search of the game winner.
Donovan converts PK
Four minutes later, the Galaxy would get just that went ahead for good as a Whitecaps defender Martin Bonjour tumbled over Landon Donovan in the box setting up a penalty kick. Donovan stepped up and converted from the penalty spot, giving the Galaxy a 2-1 win and setting up a matchup with the Supporters’ Shield winning San Jose Earthquakes.
The clutch midfielder provided the series-clinching goal in the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals with his 39th minute strike against the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium (WATCH) which helped seal a 3-2 series win on aggregate. A few days later, in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship against Seattle, Magee continued his postseason exploits, scoring his team’s second goal in a 3-0 victory. (WATCH)
Magee finished the postseason with three goals and an assist in six games, helping lead LA to their second straight championship. After re-signing with the club earlier this month, Magee will once again be at the forefront when the Galaxy begin their bid for an unprecedented third consecutive MLS Cup in a few days time.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider. Contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com