Mike Magee spends every MLS regular season looking like a capable but hardly exceptional player. He is the ultimate role player. But as soon as the playoffs come around, Magee finds a new level. He revels in the postseason pressure and it shows as he bags goal after goal to lift his team.
Last season, Magee was the LA Galaxy's leading scorer in the postseason, helping them to the MLS Cup title. In their playoff opener last night against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Magee did it again, scoring in the 69th minute to get LA level before Landon Donovan's penalty kick pushed the Galaxy to a 2-1 win.
That Magee came through again is no surprised to his teammates, who saw him step it up a notch in last year's playoffs.
"It’s what Mike does," midfielder David Beckham said. "He gets into positions. He’s a clever player, you know, he’s a really intelligent player. We were putting a lot of balls in the six-yard box and I saw [Juninho] for the short corner and obviously [Juni] put it in a position just under the penalty spot and Mike was there."
Magee's finish was a tricky one too. Juninho's ball was high and left Magee with an awkward volley that most would have put over the bar, but some fantastic technique on Magee's part kept the ball under the crossbar and netted him the all-important equalizer.
The win eliminated the Whitecaps and sent the Galaxy on to play the Supporters' Shield winners San Jose in the Western Conference semifinals. With several LA players battling injuries and the short turnaround before Sunday's first leg of the two-legged tie, the Galaxy will need Magee to continue his playoff heroics if they are going to take down the Earthquakes and continue their run towards a second consecutive MLS Cup.