CARSON, Calif. – Mike Magee has made a career of scoring clutch goals at opportune times for the LA Galaxy and as the club looked to open up their 2013 season with a fast start, it’s little surprise that Magee was once again there to provide the production.
Magee registered the first hat trick of his MLS career and just the third regular season multi-goal game of his career as the Galaxy blasted the Chicago Fire 4-0 to start the season off with a victory.
The Chicago-native put LA ahead in the 38th minute when he fired a left-footed volley past Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson. Thirty minutes later, Magee added a second as he started an attack with a ball forward for A.J. DeLaGarza. That foray ended with Robbie Keane threading a pass to Magee behind the Chicago defense, allowing the 28-year-old to cut onto his left foot and curl a shot past Sean Johnson and inside the far post, doubling his team’s lead.
Magee completed his hat trick in the 79th minute, once again using his left foot, collecting the rebound of a Johnson save on Keane and burying a shot home to become the first Galaxy player to record a hat trick in an MLS game since Landon Donovan did in September 2008 against D.C. United.
“What can I say? Three goals,” said head coach Bruce Arena of his forward. “I think he finished well. I don’t think his first 30 minutes were as good as I’d like to see, but I don’t want to get on the wrong side of Magee. He could get me fired, I guess, at this point. His second half was real good. He and Robbie [Keane] did real good job, got a number of chances.”
Although his head coach was incredibly pleased, Magee himself took a far more modest approach, but admitted “my left foot wasn’t missing today.”
“It was cool,” said Magee. “Getting the hat trick was cool, getting the win was cool. And, the best part of the day was getting the ring. So, it was an okay day.”
That “okay day” earned him considerable praise from his teammates.
“He really did a good job of getting a lot of space tonight and getting behind their defense,” said Todd Dunivant. “Robbie always does so well creating havoc. Mike faded behind the defense’s shoulders pretty well and got in behind their defense and got a lot of opportunities from it.”
“Magee is amazing. He knows how to score,” raved Marcelo Sarvas. “That’s now his job and we provide for him, no problem.”
But perhaps no one was more instrumental to Magee’s hat trick than his strike partner Keane, who had a hand in all three of Magee’s goals. Whether it was a pass into the box that set up Dunivant’s assist on the first goal or a probing ball that that found Magee behind the defense on the second or rebound that dropped perfectly for Magee, Keane’s handy work was omnipresent.
With Landon Donovan currently on sabbatical until the end of the month, it has been Magee, who has been thrust forward into the spot alongside Keane and on Sunday, it paid significant dividends.
“Me and him have always had a common understanding,” said Magee. “Obviously, we’re not a conventional strike partnership with us both not being the biggest of dudes and liking the ball at our feet, but it’s always worked fine. Even when I was out left and he was up top; it’s always clicked so I’m glad that today was more than the same.”
As LA look to start their season on the right foot after a 3-8-2 start in 2012, Magee’s production is likely to be needed time and time again, but while Arena and the Galaxy hope to see more goals from Magee, one thing that they won’t see is another somersault celebration.
“He had a part in all three of my goals so that was my makeshift, try and do a Robbie Keane celebration,” Magee laughed. “I had no idea what I was doing, but it was a little bit of thank you for having something to do with them. That will be the last time that I do it. That’s all the thanks he’ll get.”
But what did the Irish striker think of Magee’s celebration.
“Terrible,” Keane said with a smile. “He obviously saw the real one after.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com