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U.S. OPEN CUP: Magee big at other end, too

6/29/2011

FULLERTON -- Mike Magee followed his big afternoon in the nets by hitting the net, and so the Galaxy avoided a U.S. Open Cup upset Tuesday night against the L.A. Blues.

Magee's goal in the 81st minute delivered a 2-1 victory for the Galaxy and a quarterfinal date against two-time defending champion Seattle Sounders on July 12 up in Tukwila, Wash.

Omar Gonzalez headed home a Juninho free kick in the 75th minute, then nodded another free kick across the goalmouth for Magee to finish as the Major League Soccer side overcame a second-half deficit.

Magee was again the hero, just three days after he stepped into the goal following an injury to starting netminder Donovan Ricketts and a red card to backup Josh Saunders and shut out San Jose for 47-plus minutes in a scoreless draw.

What's next on his itinerary?

“Oh, man, you guys are expecting too much now,” he said after the third-round clash at Cal State Fullerton's Titan Stadium. “I don't know -- hopefully, keep winning.”

Magee's been in a whirlwind since he pulled on Saunders jersey and a pair of gloves just before halftime Saturday and had his first experience as a goalkeeper. He did well enough, making four saves -- two of them quite good -- and was selected MLS Player of the Week.

“Luckily, I don't have a Twitter account, because I've heard it's been pretty intense on Twitter,” he said. “I've gotten a lot of texts and phone calls from family and friends. They're having a good time with it.

“I't been pretty nerve-racking. I'm still a little nervous from playing goalie. The butterflies haven't left yet.”

Magee didn't have to do any goalkeeping Tuesday. Brian Perk, the second-year, third-string goalkeeper who will take over when the Galaxy play Seattle in an MLS game Monday at Home Depot Center, got the start rather than Saunders -- just to get another game under his belt before his Fourth of July duty.

“I'm tremendously excited [for Monday],” he said. “I might not look it, but I've been waiting a year and a half now and haven't played many games, so it's good to make my MLS debut.”

He knew he'd get the assignment as soon as Saunders was sent off for elbowing San Jose's Steven Lenhart in the had. “It doesn't really sink it -- it really hasn't, until I step on the field."

His assessment of Magee's performance Saturday: “I couldn't believe it. He steps in there, he looks kind of like a little munchkin with Josh's big jersey on. And he puts on a performance, I'm thinking: 'Am I really going to play Monday?' I don't know.

“In all seriousness, he stepped in and did an amazing job, and we're all really grateful for the job he did. 'Cause I don't know if there's anyone else who could have done that. Just his composure. I mean, for him to step in as a field player who's never done it before, it's kind of amazing.”

Would Magee consider an encore?

“Nah,” he said. “I don't even want to think about goalie ever again. Seriously.”

TOUGH BLUES: The Blues, from the third-tier USL Pro, were competitive the entire match, had periods in which they dominated possession, and created several scoring opportunities, the best finished by Cesar Rivera in the 61st minute after Carlos Borja's shot went to him rather than toward the net.

“They were really good,” Magee said. “We obviously knew some guys who had played with us before. These Open Cup games are always hard. ... You bring in a couple guys that played for the Galaxy, played against us and played with us every day, you know it's going to add that much more pressure.

“They played hard. A lot of credit to them, because we barely got away with one tonight.”

Eight of the Blues' starters had MLS experience of one sort or another -- three of them (captain Josh Tudela, Israel Sesay and Mike Randolph), plus substitute Leonard Griffin, had been with the Galaxy -- and two others played in top leagues overseas.

But the Galaxy, with eight regulars in their starting lineup, took charge after Juninho came on in the second half. He combined with Paolo Cardozo and halftime substitute Miguel Lopez to create several chances.

Both Galaxy goals came off set pieces, with Juninho targeting the 6-foot-5 Gonzalez to best effect. Blues head coach Charlie Naimo said he was concerned about the matchups on dead balls after defender Cameron Dunn exited late in the first half with a hamstring injury.

“We knew once Cam went down, we had nobody who can defend Gonzalez in the air,” Naimo said. “It was always a hold-your-breath thing when there was a set piece with him on the field. To know that that was what it took to beat us tonight is bittersweet but a bit encouraging.”

  • GAME SUMMARY

Titan Stadium, Cal State Fullerton

Galaxy 2, L.A. Blues 1

B -- Cesar Rivera (Carlos Borja) 62

G -- Omar Gonzalez (Juninho) 75

G -- Mike Magee (Omar Gonzalez) 81

Galaxy: Brian Perk; Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter, A.J. DeLaGarza; Bryan Jordan (Miguel Lopez, 46), Jovan Kirovski (Juninho, 64), Michael Stephens, Mike Magee; Paolo Cardozo, Chad Barrett (Adam Cristman, 83). Unused subs: Kyle Davies, Hector Jimenez, Dan Keat, Josh Saunders.

L.A. Blues: Oscar Dautt; Cameron Dunn (Leonard Griffin, 40), Nelson Akwari, Erlys Garcia, Mike Randolph; Mehrshad Momeni (Akeem Priestley, 87), Edwin Miranda (Cesar Rivera, 46), Josh Tudela, Israel Sesay; Carlos Borja, Chukwudi Chijindu. Unused subs: Amir Abedzadeh, Gerardo Bravo, Tomislav Colic, Shahtyar Dastan.

Yellow cards: Tudela 1, Berhalter 8, Momeni 70, Cristman 88, Sesay 90. Red card: Sesay 90.

Referee: Alejandro Mariscal. Att.: 3,627.

  • OPEN CUP SCORES/SCHEDULE

Tuesday's third-round scores

Galaxy (MLS) 2 (Gonzalez 75, Magee 81), L.A. Blues (USL Pro) 1 (Rivera 62)

Seattle Sounders (MLS) 2 (Fucito 39, 62), Kitsap Pumas (PDL) 1 (Besagno 71)

FC Dallas (MLS) 3 (Jackson Goncalves 39, Villar 50, Rodriguez 95+), Orlando City FC (USL Pro) 2 (M. Griffin 24, Alvarez 93+)

Sporting Kansas City (MLS) 3 (Bunbury 3, Stojcev 58, Kamara 60), Chicago Fire Premier (PDL) 0

New York Red Bulls (MLS) 2 (Hertzog 58, Rooney 65), FC New York (USL Pro) 1 (Morrison 56)

Rochester Rhinos (USL Pro) 0, Chicago Fire (MLS) 1 (Chaves 37)

Columbus Crew (MLS) 1 (Grossman 1), Richmond Kickers (USL Pro) 2 (Hiroyama 20, Delicate 85)

Real Salt Lake (MLS) 2 (Beltran 40, Alexandre 44), Wilmington Hammerheads (USL Pro) 0

Quarterfinals (June 12)

Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders at Starfire Sports Complex (Tukwila, Wash.), 7 p.m.

Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas, 6 p.m.

Richmond Kickers at Sporting Kansas City, 5:30 p.m.

New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire, 5:30 p.m.