Imagine you are Bruce Arena. It’s the opening whistle of the first game. You’re probably thinking of playing for the draw or sneaking out a late equalizer. Then in the space of 22 minutes, the next 4-6 weeks of your season seems to be unhinged. That’s the gist of what happened Saturday afternoon as a crazy turn of events and an unlikely hero stole 2 points from the Quakes and kept their unbeaten streak alive at 10.
The Galaxy started off badly, almost giving up a goal in the first 30 seconds to Brian Dawkins that was saved only by the far post. Dawkins had another shot on goal fed by Steven Lenhart that was saved by Ricketts 2 minutes after that. Ricketts was again called on for a double save on the ensuring corner kick. Needless to say, the Galaxy has just about the worst start you could have and it wouldn’t get any better in the 21th minute when Ricketts got injured on a challenge from fellow Jamaican Karhi Stevenson. That brought on Josh Saunders as the keeper who also has to step into the line of fire almost immediately and produce a great save on a Stevenson free kick. Several more chances were created by the front 5 of the Quakes and luckily Saunders and the Galaxy defense were apt to the task every time.
However, if you didn’t think this game could be more stacked against the Galaxy…well it definitely got worst. After collecting the ball on a routine pass back in the 42th minute, Steven Lenhart decided to head-butt the ball out of Saunders left hand. Lenhart decided that once wasn’t enough and tried to harass Saunders again, this time getting an elbow in the face for his troubles. Saunders, of course, gets a straight red for unsportsmen-like conduct and is sent off. You might have figured by now that both our keepers were out of the game with no other keepers available on the bench. Oh, and did I mention there was no keeper on the bench.
Enter Mike Magee, who later would say he volunteered for the job, in goal. All of 5’6 in goal with a Saunders kit over his own. Magee and the Galaxy defense held a full-strength to very few chances over the first 35 minutes of the second half. Almost no offense was generated being a man down as the Galaxy was pretty much pinned to their own half for the rest of the game. Magee was finally called upon to make a game-saving save on the villain Lenhart in the 88th minute on a point-blank attempt on goal that Mike was able to turn aside. Magee was not challenged again and the escape from San Jose was complete with a point in hand with Seattle coming to the Home Depot Center this 4th of July.
-This marks the second time that a MLS outfield has played keeper in a game. The first would be Eddie Gaven’s 2003 stint for the Metrostars/RBNY in which he also scored the game winning goal in overtime. (can be seen here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-G6eHl30zw)
-Bob Bradley was also coach of the Metrostars/Red Bulls for Gaven’s time in goal. A little bit of degrees of separation if you ever need it for the bar…
-Mike Magee is awesome. That is all.
Image courtesy of German Alegria / LA Galaxy