'Magic Mike' ignores MVP speculation
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The Chicago Fire is running a drill at training in which players are sent a pass behind a lifeless defender for them to run onto and take a shot.
It's Mike Magee's turn, and he does what he's done so often in games this season. He scores, this time turning and curling a shot just inside the post to goalkeeper Sean Johnson's left, a shot so well-placed that Johnson doesn't even try to save it but just raises a gloved hand as if to acknowledge the skill involved.
Magee has scored 18 times in Major League Soccer games this season, 12 of them since arriving in Chicago from Los Angeles at the end of May. He's earned the "Magic Mike" nickname from fans. Look for a turning point to the Fire's season and Magee's homecoming is it. That's when the Fire became a playoff contender after perhaps the worst start in club history.
"He's obviously the guy who sparked us for our run in the summer, and he continues to score for us and be that game-changer," Fire veteran Chris Rolfe says.
But does he deserve the league's MVP award for what he's done? The consensus is the Fire needs to secure a playoff berth and Magee needs to continue to be the catalyst to win the award. He sits second in the MLS Golden Boot race behind Montreal's Marco Di Vaio, who has 19 goals. Magee's former Galaxy teammate Robbie Keane is a contender, as is Vancouver's Camilo Sanvezzo.
Clearly, it's not a topic that interests the 29-year-old Magee. The veteran has not only become the Fire's go-to player on the field but the media's go-to player in the postgame locker room, for his candor as well as his production. Yet on this question Chicago-born, Northwest Suburbs-raised Magee is succinct. Is he paying attention to the MVP talk?
"No." Next question.
"He should be considered, for sure," Klopas said. "For me I'm always going to be biased, toward the players I have, but yeah, he's had a great season, we still have a long way to go and I think for sure he should, when you look at the impact he had in L.A., the impact he's had here.
"I don't think that's something he's thinking about because I know Mike. He can tell you I'll give those 2 goals back for the team to get 3 points. That's the mentality he has."
Magee doesn't worry about goals and personal awards. This is a man who wrapped his arms around MLS Cup the last two seasons in Los Angeles. Now he wants to repeat the feat in front of family and friends, and he still firmly believes the eighth-place Fire will make up the 2 points that separate it from fifth place and the Eastern Conference's final playoff berth.
"Yes, of course," he said of the Fire's four remaining regular-season matches. "It's in our hands. I'm well aware we're a couple of points out. It's all winnable games left. It's quite simple. We have to win. I think we can, and everyone should feel that way."
In other words the only difference for Magee from the last two seasons is the uniform and the position he's asked to play on the field.
"I think the last 10 years I played left mid and now I'm playing forward," Magee said. "Nothing changes. My mentality is just to try to win games. If we win I'm happy and if we lose I'm not. It doesn't change if I'm scoring goals or not scoring goals. It's simply a must-win business."
MVP? That's a question for the voters. Mike Magee is interested in championship trophies, and there's work to be done.
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