NEW! Alexi Lalas MLS blog week two: How Mike Magee became the King of LA PLUS goals and highlights
Welcome to MirrorFootball's new MLS blog, brought to you in conjunction with ESPN. Every Wednesday USA legend Alexi Lalas will be on hand to bring you the latest news from the 'States, and you'll also be able to watch the week's best goals and highlights...
Greetings people of the United Kingdom! Here’s your weekly shot of 100-proof Major League Soccer. Quick, smooth and potent.
As you Brits love to say, we have no soccer history over here. Whatever. We’ll go on that premise for this one. Because this week, a little bit of history was made thanks to an extraordinary goalkeeping performance… by a midfielder.
You may not have heard of Mike Magee. He’s a serviceable attacking player for the LA Galaxy. He’s in his 9th MLS season, he’s scored one goal this year and he stands around 5’8’’ tall. In short, he doesn’t garner a lot of headlines and you’re never going to see him linked to Chelsea in the transfer market.
But this weekend he was the undisputed star for the LA Galaxy.
On Saturday, the LA Galaxy traveled north to face their inter-state rivals the San Jose Earthquakes. In the middle of the first half, Galaxy starting goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts had to leave the game with an injured arm. He was replaced with back-up Josh Saunders who lasted all of 19 minutes before being ejected in the 43rd minute for taking a swipe at Earthquakes striker Steven Lenhart. And that’s when the fun started.
At 0-0 and without a third goalkeeper, someone had to step up. Without hesitation, little Mike Magee raised his hand, donned Saunders’ oversized jersey and jumped in goal.
Now it’s a known fact that every outfield player thinks he can play goalkeeper. They’re wrong. But what they can do is fake it for a limited amount of time, sometimes very well.
And that’s exactly what Magee did for the next 47 or so minutes.
He kept a clean sheet, preserved the road point and finished with four saves, including a point-blank rejection on – who else? – Lenhart in the 89th minute. Remember, this was all while the Galaxy were playing with 10 men.
Magee provided a compelling storyline in what was otherwise a lackluster 0-0 affair. He was the proverbial “toddler trapped in the well,” and we were glued to the proceedings to see if he would survive or, well, you know…
So now, time to spin up the mythmaking machine. Magee is being celebrated in the same way we celebrate a goalkeeper who scores a goal. He has trended on Twitter, and he was voted Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters. By the end of it all, Magee’s will go down as one of a heroic performance for the ages.
And so it should. Because what is this game if not a collection of stories told over and over to the point that they lose their sense of reality to grow almost sublime?
I’m sure many of you can recall the day John Terry stepped into the goal for Chelsea and kept a clean sheet for the last minute or so against Reading. And now we have the day Magee kept San Jose at bay for more than half a game. The stuff of legend.
Alexi Lalas is a lead football analyst for ESPN - the live and exclusive broadcaster of Major League Soccer in the UK. ESPN and ESPN America are the home of major sports from the US, including NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL Monday Night Football, and NCAA US college sports. For details visit www.espn.co.uk/tv