Midfielder Mike Magee, shown celebrating a goal on Aug. 17, ended up playing… (Harry How / Getty Images )
The Galaxy doubled the number of fit goalkeepers on its roster from one to two a little more than a week ago when Donovan Ricketts returned from his long spell on the shelf because of a broken arm.
Two would be better than one.
Ricketts missed more than two months, and the game in which he was injured, on June 25 at San Jose, certainly qualifies as the most memorable for the Galaxy this interesting season. This was because the replacement for Ricketts, Josh Saunders, was red-carded in the 43rd minute.
With no goalkeepers available, field player, midfielder Mike Magee was called upon to step into the fray, and the weird series of events earned the Galaxy some national attention after the ensuing 0-0 tie against the Earthquakes.
The old story came up recently when Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena was talking with a handful of reporters after practice in Carson just before Labor Day. He joked about having Magee at his disposal, and then again related the series of fluke events in San Jose.
It was not exactly a well-thought-out plan, using someone who had never played goal, not even in practice. Then again, who plans for losing two goalkeepers?
"Unfortunately in his case, [Magee] was the first guy I had a conversation with at the time," Arena said. "It's not like we had minutes to make the decision. He was the closest one next to me. That's kind of how that happened.
"It's a perfect example of how a coach could maybe screw things up. I looked around. Logically my candidate in the goal would have been Omar [Gonzalez]."
"Because he's a big guy. Who would you put in the goal?" Arena said. "Believe me, this wasn't planned in advance that if two goalkeepers left the game, who would play in goal. I don't even want to have that plan anymore."
Said Magee: "I volunteered….I was just standing there and [Arena] was yelling at the ref and yelling all sorts of crazy stuff. It just happened. As we were standing, I kind of looked at him and said. 'Man, we need to put someone in goal.'"
And a goalkeeper was born.
Well, not really.
Magee made his first save about two minutes into the second half.
"Bobby Convey shot one from about 25 yards out," Magee said. "It wasn't hard but it wasn't easy. When I see other goalies do it, it looks real easy. I think it was good for me because I got that save out of the way. The longer it would have went, the more my hands would have been shaking.
Magee was funny when asked how many saves he made.
"I have no idea — it felt like I made 400 saves," he said.