Why Mike Magee Should Get a Call-up to the US National Team
Posted on March 4, 2013 9:46 am
by Derek Richey
Mike Magee. What a guy. Is there any doubt about his ability to take a ball on the cut or out of the air? Is there any doubt about his skills on the ground? Is there any doubt that he’s one of the best American players to never go overseas?
Is Magee a late bloomer? Sure he is. He’s a fantastic late bloomer. Am I saying all this because he scored a hat-trick against Chicago yesterday? Kind of, but not really. Mike Magee has been amazing when it counts for the past few seasons for LA, even though he’s been over-shadowed by the glowing lights of Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Robbie Keane.
But go ahead, ask anyone on the Galaxy, or Bruce Arena, or talk to anyone around the MLS, and ask them if Magee isn’t one of the most reliable, steadfast, dependable, talented, skilled, and efficient players in the league. Per opportunity, who takes care of the ball better? Bruce Arena would have him on the Nats if he were still coach. Just ask him. Then again, that might not be too convincing for some.
Is Magee as good of a poacher as Wondolowski? Maybe, but he’s not asked to be a poacher like Wondo. Magee doesn’t do all his damage as a poacher like Wondo does. And is being a poacher on the US National team really an asset anymore? I mean, we don’t cross the ball enough to cause poacher-friendly skirmishes in front of the goal for a guy like Wondo to flourish. Oh, but that’s right, Wondo scores goals for an MLS team that plays the OPPOSITE style that the US National team ASPIRES to play. So, why play someone like Magee that fits more into the ball-control framework?–that makes too much sense…
Eddie Johnson as a winger? Sorry Jurgen, but if you’re going to throw someone on the wing, why not someone who has been there and done that for two MLS championship teams? Why would anyone ever choose EJ over someone like Magee to play that role? Oh, that’s right, EJ scores goals for Seattle–and lots of them. But doesn’t he do that in a traditional striker role–not as a winger?
But then there is Mike Magee. His feet are magical. He’s a more skilled player than Wondo is. He’s not as good a poacher, but we already discussed the cons of that in Jurgen’s lair. Magee is a better winger than EJ could ever hope to become on his very best day. Magee is just a special player. Better than that, when the pressure is on, he steps up and performs better. When everyone else is taking a break (Landy Mountain Man) or moving on (Beckham and “gay Pear-ee”), Magee’s the guy you can rely on. He’s versatile. He can play striker, reserved striker, winger, even central midfield… But mostly, he’s a play-maker.
When Landon Donovan and Keane are both around and healthy, he doesn’t get to play much up top, but by-goodness when he does, he scores. And he scores when it matters (at least recently). If we’re going to give a guy like Alan Gordon a reach-around and a chance at camp-cupcake type games, why not CONSIDER a guy like Mike Magee? He has better feet than Gordon and actually fits into Klinsmann’s system… Isn’t that the whole point of Jurgen’s evolution of American soccer? If so, why not choose some players that actually fit into your Barcelona style vision? Players who can hold the ball, pass the ball, shoot the ball, dribble, run, and score when called upon?
Okay, maybe 10 Magee goals in the last two seasons doesn’t blow your mind, but did you ever consider that he hasn’t been asked to be a goal-scorer until the end of last season? And didn’t that work out pretty well for the Galaxy when it was clutch time? And really, wouldn’t you want him on your team if you had the chance? Be honest.
If I’m Jurgen Klinsmann right now, I’d be picking up the phone and calling one of the most unheralded players in the MLS over the past two seasons (unless your a Galaxy fan—-then you know better). If Mike Magee were 22 instead of 28, he’d be a hot property in the world (not just MLS) and god knows he wouldn’t be playing in the MLS much longer. He’d be in the EPL, or Germany.
And if some of those Euro clubs don’t think 28 is too old to become a star player or a major contributor, then maybe they’ll still give him a call soon. It happened to Geoff Cameron (who is 27). In fact, it was just over a year ago I said Geoff Cameron should head abroad to make a case for himself to be a regular on the national team—-and I was right (despite sighs and grumbles from the gallery). That call might not come for 28 year old Mike Magee from anyone overseas or even from Klinsmann, but it should, because Mike Magee has been, and is, a class player.