Magee’s first career hat-trick leads Galaxy in romp over Fire

By OMAR SHAMOUT

CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy stormed into the 2013 season with a 4-0 rout of the Chicago Fire,  including three superb left-footed strikes from forward Mike Magee.

The 28-year-old forward scored the first hat-trick of his career while filling in up front in the absence of Landon Donovan.

“It was cool,” Magee said post game in typical understated fashion, amidst shouts of “Magee!” from Galaxy players and staff in the locker room.

His first came in the 38th minute after Todd Dunivant floated a cross into the box that deflected off Fire defender Steve Kinney. The ball flew directly into Magee’s path, and he volleyed it past Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Magee, a Chicago native, praised the awareness of his teammate on the edge of the penalty area.

“Todd [Dunivant] played me a brilliant ball,” Magee said. Dunivant earned an assist on the play.

The second came 68 minutes into the game after Robbie Keane looked to have blown a Galaxy scoring opportunity in front of goal. An onrushing A.J. DeLaGarza played it to the Irishman, who juked his way into the penalty area, but ran into two Fire defenders. He was able to collect the ball, however, and found a wide-open Magee to his right. Magee easily cut inside of Chicago’s Gonzalo Segares and placed it beautifully into the top left corner of Johnson’s net.

“Robbie did well to slip me,” Magee said, describing his teammate as “a different class.”

The third came thanks to some nifty play by Keane in the 74th minute. He sealed off Chicago midfielder Austin Berry on a DeLaGarza throw in that landed inside the Fire penalty area. He bore down on goal, but Johnson saved the shot. Fortunately for the Galaxy, Magee ran onto the deflection, chested the ball down, and struck it across Johnson’s goal. The hat trick was complete.

“My left foot wasn’t missing today,” Magee said.

After his third, Magee paid homage to his attack partner by performing an underwhelming version of Keane’s trademark cartwheel celebration, which Magee admitted was “absolutely terrible.”

Magee usually saves his best efforts for the MLS playoffs, but with Donovan out of the lineup until some time in April, he will have plenty more opportunities to impress as a forward. Magee said after the game that he and Keane have always clicked when paired together up top for the Galaxy.

“We’re not a conventional strike partnership with us being not the biggest of dudes and liking [the ball] at our feet, but it’s always worked fine,” Magee said. “Today was more of the same.”

Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena praised his forward pair after the game, but admitted Magee started slowly. “His second half was really good, “Arena said. “I don’t think his first 30 minutes were as good as I’d like to see.” But Arena was reluctant to criticize his forward too much. “I don’t want to get on the wrong side of Magee, because he could get me fired at this point,” Arena joked.

Keane finally got in on the scoring action in the 80th minute. Marcelo Sarvas played a cross into the box following a short corner kick from Magee, his ball finding Omar Gonzalez’ head at the back post. The defender nodded it to Keane in front of goal, who knocked the ball home. After the goal, Keane showed the 20,154 on hand at the Home Depot Center how the cartwheel is supposed to be done. But the 32-year-old complimented his teammate’s performance in the season opener, noting how crucial it was to avoid a similar start to last season.

“[Magee] is vitally important to this team, and he showed that today,” Keane said. “It was a good start to the season, exactly what we wanted.”

Magee also noted how heavily the specter of last season’s poor start weighed on the players’ minds. “We were so concerned with not starting how we started last year,” Magee said.

The Galaxy sported a new look midfield to open the season too, with, with new acquisition Colin Clark starting in left midfield and Sean Franklin moving up from his usual right back role. DeLaGarza slotted in at right back with a healthy Leonardo partnering Gonzalez in the center of defense.

Juninho and Sarvas were strong in the middle of the pitch, allowing LA to control nearly 57 percent of possession. The duo initiated much of the Galaxy’s attack with crisp passing, punctuated by numerous one-two combinations around the edge of the Chicago penalty area.

“It’s the way we have to play,” Sarvas said. “Playing short, not passing long balls.”

The David Beckham era seems to be well and truly over in Los Angeles.

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26 Responses to Magee’s first career hat-trick leads Galaxy in romp over Fire

  1. A says:

    Good for him, but the Fire were so bad tonight that Arenas could have laced up and put one in.

  2. Old School says:

    I think it’s safe to say Mike Magee is the new face of American Soccer.

    I’m sure it’ll help with popularity, since he’s Bradley Coopers twin.

  3. MikeG says:

    The Galaxy looked the most disciplined with the ball. Spacing between positions was good. Definately the best showing team of the weekend. I am so tired of watching so many games abroad and at home. I wonder who Tim Lieweke was talking about when he said the best is yet to come to the Galaxy. Galaxy has the big target on the back of there shirts this year. I think they will be better than when Beckham was here.

    • jeff says:

      If you guys remember, we did pretty great when beckham was injured a few years back. I actually thought the team was a step up without him at the time. Don’t miss him that much.

  4. Gnarls says:

    Great showing by the Gs. The midfield looked good, but Colin Clark looks like the odd man out. I don’t know who’d be better because I believe he’s a true left sided player, and LA is short on those.

    Who’da guessed, out of Keane and Magee up top, it’d be Magee with the hat trick? He’s the most underrated forward in the league.

  5. Jim says:

    Clark actually did well considering he was the only player on the Gs that has no prior experience playing with the lads… couple more games and they will be clicking! MHO, Franklin will be the odd man out when Donovan returns. Sean must earn his minutes now with the emergence of meyers, Leonardo and aj being healthy as well. I’m not convinced as mid, even though he played that position @ Northridge

    • Andrew says:

      They’ll all get their minutes. Between MLS, CCL, and the Open Cup, the team will need a rotation of at least 16 “starters” if not more.

  6. Catamount says:

    Love to see the G’s playing through the midfield and combining. The style suits Keane, LD and Magee better than the long ball. I was amazed at how smart both Keane and Magee are at getting into pockets of space in the box. Together with the combination play from the midfield changing the angles of service, it makes for a very dynamic attack. Wondering how bad the marking was for Chi, or how good the ball movement and positioning was for the G’s. We’ll see in the next couple of games.

  7. dan says:

    Galaxy are still shaky on the wings, im not sold on any of our wingers. If Magee truly blossoms as a forward then perhaps Donovan will do well on the wing, giving us some pace out there.

    If the wings are fixed then I have no doubts that LA will dominate again this year. Sarvas and Juninho have far more chemistry than Juninho had with Becks. Becks was brilliant tho and I won’t take a single thing away from him but the Brazilians pairing is looking magnificent. Hopefully our 3rd DP is a wing

    • Edwin in LA says:

      I don’t know where you’re coming from…..Franklin did okay and he’s gotten good minutes out of midfield before his only knock there in the past is not finishing when he played there and I recall we didn’t have Keane, he can help create a lot more with him, and then when Landon, Villareal and Gyasi come back……they’ll have plenty of finishers.

      Villareal and Landon can easily play the wings….and the one who doesn’t play out wide can partner up with Keane up top along with Magee…not to mention when Gyasi comes back he can play up top some and allow Magee, LD and Villareal to handle the wide duties..

  8. Dennis says:

    One, Who’s Bradley Cooper, Two, I have been a fan of Magee’s since he first played with the Metrostars about 10 years ago. He seems to play with such enjoyment, it is just fun to watch him. He was apprentice to Juan Pablo Angel first in NY and they had a brief reunion in LA. I always thought Magee had a good brain for soccer, he just seemed to find the good spots to be and I suspect while he is physically a much different kind of player than Angel, I am sure he learned from Juan Pablo.

    He, Michael Bradley and Eddie Gavin were among the young guys the Metros had in those days and despite their youth, you could tell they would continue to improve just by the way they approached the game, took such joy in it and took it seriously at the same time.

    • Old School says:

      “One, Who’s Bradley Cooper”

      Perhaps you don’t know the name, but maybe you’ve seen some of his movies?

  9. barnie says:

    I sure wish mike was in goal tonight, maybe we would have lost 1-0, instead!

  10. Jamesey says:

    Chicago should be embarrassed, not because they gave up 4 goals, but because we shut them out with Leonardo on the backline.

    • Brian says:

      I think you are confusing Leonardo with David Junior Lopez.

    • Shake says:

      Leoranrdo has always been a projected starter for us since Berhalter left. We used to dominate with two big guys paired in the back. If it weren’t for injuries, this is the back 4 we would always use (Sean and AJ would be competing over RB).

  11. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    I am not surprise by Magee, Magee played with 17s and 20s teams and done it well. The problem that youngers in MLS have to play out position, then perform well that position than natural position with youth national team.

  12. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    don’t perform well that position*

  13. Brian says:

    Did anyone else notice the Galaxy bench? Long on promise, short on league experience.

    2 rookies (Rugg & Cochrane), an 18 year old with 98 league minutes (McBean), a 2nd player with 5 minutes (Garcia) and Stephens and Jimenez.

    SKC brought in CJ Sapong off the bench when they needed a goal. Fire even had MacDonald off the bench against in this game. If the Galaxy were chasing, it would have been an McBean or Rugg.

    I’m not saying they aren’t quality but they sure aren’t eating up muchof the salary cap. It’s tribute to Bruce Arena’s ability to identify and develop talent to keep cheap players in the pipeline to prevent what we saw at RSL.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      Well….also consider that while inexperienced…..but with lots of talent and major upside there’s also Villareal who was playing with the U-20s yesterday, that tournament should do wonders for his confidence and come USOC games I expect him and guys like McBean, Gaul and the other young prospect who is out but due to injury Gyasi Zardes to take that tournament and get LA farther than they’ve been in a LONG LONG time….which I think they haven’t made further than the Quarterfinals or round of 16 in the last 5 seasons…..

      But again LD, Zardes, Villareal will make this team that much deeper, hopefully guys like Cochrane, Rugg, Sorto and Zardes can develop well with reserve league, friendlies, CCL (the one in Summer w/ group play not the current one in Quarters) to make the team even deeper…

    • Shake says:

      Mcbean is the real deal, and he is our leading scorer in CCL. Villareal has only gotten more experience and has already shown he is ready for MLS (although he still wont start on a team this good for another year).

      And hopefully Zardes recovers and is ready to get some starting minutes, as I still think Magee would be better for the team if he replaced Clark out left.

      At least our backline is absolutely stacked with Meyer, Gaul, and Franklin as backups (as Franklin will be a midfielder a lot)