LA Galaxy: Mike Magee Gets Player of the Week, Leaves Seattle Sounders Wondering
It may have been one of the goofiest moments of the season, directly following one of the most infuriating and controversial.
In any case, soccer fans around the nation will never forget the image of Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee pulling the oversized keeper jersey, with the name of the ejected backup keeper Josh Saunders (who is six inches taller than him), over his head.
We all may have chuckled a bit, but an impressive six saves and one clean sheet later, Magee landed his spot as the MLS Week 15 Player of the Week. And he's the first goalkeeper to do so.
In a decision that will surely live in infamy, the referee showed Saunders a straight red card in the 43rd minute after San Jose forward Steven Lenhart attempted to illegally head the ball out of his hands.
In the resulting scramble to recover the ball, Saunders appeared to accidentally strike Lenhart with his elbow while fending him off. The referee, uninterested in the fact that the entire incident occurred as a direct result of a blatantly illegal move by Lenhart, took the strike to be intentional.
Out of options, and with nobody stepping up, the 5'10" midfielder took charge, later being quoted on the league Web site, saying, "I nominated myself. I think I looked around. Looking back, I don't know why."
But in taking the position, Saunders, who says he has never played in goal in his life, "not even in a non-competitive match," took control of the game. And despite Galaxy defenders doing everything in their power to keep the ball far away from goal, he still had to come up big more than once, leaving San Jose disappointed in front of their home crowd, and preserving a crucial point on the road.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Sounders surely watched, hoping for a Galaxy loss and a chance to pull within three points of the Galaxy in the standings. Little did they know that Magee had other plans.
With the Galaxy next on the Sounders' schedule, and with the Sounders desperately hoping to make up some crucial points against the division leaders, they surely had to wonder for a moment if they'd face the surprisingly brilliant Magee in goal at the Home Depot Center on July 4, especially with Donovan Ricketts out with a fractured arm and Saunders serving his one-game suspension.
Alas, all indications seem to be that Galaxy's third goalkeeper, Brian Perk, will get the start. Which may actually cause a sigh of relief for the Sounders.
But, at least the Galaxy know that if Perk isn't cutting it against the streaking Sounders, they will always have Magee.
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