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Ex-Galaxy stars Magee, Ricketts win MLS honors

December 05, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Portland Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts tries to block a goal on Nov. 24.
Portland Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts tries to block a goal on Nov.… (Ted S. Warren / Associated…)

It's been a good couple of days for soccer players who formerly wore the blue and white of the Galaxy. First Donovan Ricketts, traded by the Galaxy two years ago, Wednesday was named Major League Soccer's goalkeeper of the year. And then Thursday Mike Magee, traded by the Galaxy to the Chicago Fire in May for the rights to Robbie Rogers, was unveiled as the league's MVP.

Magee, 29, finished second in goals scored in the MLS with 21 this season, including six in the first 10 games with the Galaxy. Before this season, the most goals Magee had scored in a single year was seven with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in 2003.

A player still with the Galaxy, forward Robbie Keane, finished second to Magee in MVP balloting by media members, players and MLS team officials. Keane was fourth in the league with 16 goals and third with 11 assists, making him the only player to finish in double figures in both categories.

Despite Magee's first start this season, when Rogers became available in the spring the Galaxy needed a valuable asset to pry his rights away from Chicago. A former national team player, Rogers had suffered through an injury-plagued year in England before briefly retiring. Shortly after announcing his retirement, Rogers wrote an emotional blog post in which he said he was gay, then returned to Southern California to be closer to his family.

Rogers began training with the Galaxy in early spring and soon announced he wanted to play again -- provided he could stay in Southern California.

After some negotiation, the Galaxy approached Magee, a Chicago native, about a trade and both Magee and the Fire jumped at the chance to make the deal.

When Rogers was subbed on for the final 13 minutes of the Galaxy's May 26 match with Seattle, he became the first openly gay man to play in a major U.S. professional league. He played in just 10 more MLS matches though, going scoreless with just one assist while Magee competed for the league scoring title

Galaxy President Chris Klein said after the season that he didn't regret making the deal.

"We’re in a business where you can’t have regrets," he said. "It’s certainly unfair to Robbie Rogers to constantly be compared with Mike Magee. I'm happy for Mike. None of us are surprised at what he did in Chicago. Would he have done that in L.A.? No one knows.

"The move happened and Mike left. And we still believe that Robbie can be a very good player for us. But for the trade, we’ll take responsibility. With the way that our league is and the way that our league works, there are things that you have to do sometimes to persevere. A couple of years ago we traded the best goalkeeper in the league. And he’s still that in Donovan Ricketts."

Indeed. Ricketts, who helped the Galaxy win an MLS Cup two years ago, set league records for shutouts (14), saves (92) and minutes (2,880) this season while leading Portland to the best record in the Western Conference and a spot in the conference final. The top goalkeeper award was his second -- he also won one with the Galaxy in 2010.

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