Mike Magee was acquired by the Fire from the LA Galaxy on May 25 in exchange for Robbie Rogers in a blockbuster deal. Having scored six times already for the Galaxy, the Chicago native wasted no time continuing the trend in Chicago, scoring a goal eleven minutes into his debut in Wednesday’s 2-0 U.S. Open Cup victory against the Charlotte Eagles. Magee would make his Fire MLS debut on Sunday and would not disappoint.
The Fire jumped out to an early lead as they hosted D.C. United on Sunday when a shot hit Nick DeLeon and eventually ended up in the back of the net in the eighth minute of play. The own goal would count as the Fire’s seventh goal of the season, putting them one ahead of the pace set by Magee. D.C. came into the match as the only team in the league to have scored fewer goals than the Fire, and over the course of the game it became apparent why. United held 63.2% of the possession throughout the game and passed at a 79% accuracy rate, better than the Fire’s mark of 68%. The key failure in D.C.’s attack that may sound awfully familiar to Fire fans is that they failed to execute on their opportunities. Sean Johnson was not a busy goalkeeper during the game; in fact, he did not make a single save, nor did he need to as D.C. did not put a shot on target. D.C. did make eight attempts on net, five of which misses the net and another three were blocked by Fire defenders.
D.C.’s best scoring chance of the match came in the thirty-eighth minute when Dwayne De Rosario fired a shot from distance that deflected off the Chicago crossbar and out. The only other time D.C. would see an opportunity to put the ball in the net it was their own.
Mike Magee would not score early in his Fire league debut, but would score late with his tally coming in the eighty-fifth minute of play on a semi-breakaway. His goal gave the Fire an insurmountable 2-0 lead late in the match and sent a crowd of 14,456 into a frenzy as the Fire picked up what was just their third victory of the season. Magee’s strike was his seventh of the season, moving him into a tie with Claudio Bieler of Sporting Kansas City for third in the league, though three of those goals came in one match against the Fire. Marco Di Vaio of the Impact de Montréal sits in second with nine, just behind Jack McInerney’s ten goals with the Philadelphia Union. Magee has already proven that he can contribute to the club’s biggest area of weakness in finishing opportunities, and will have to continue his high scoring pace in the Fire are to turn their season around and make a push for the postseason.
Chris Rolfe was subbed out after sixty-eight minutes in a move that brought Maicon Santos into the Fire attack. Santos, in the twenty-two minutes he played, totaled shots compared to Rolfe’s one, a rate at which Rolfe performed at just 11% of Santos’s shot efficiency (shots per minute). Neither put a shot on target. Alex earned a rare start, but was taken out after seventy-four minutes to bring usual starter Dilly Duka into the match. Magee would come off the pitch after his goal in the eighty-seventh minute.
The victory put the Fire back into the mix for a post-season berth, now sitting just eight points behind the Philadelphia Union and the New England Revolution, who won 5-0 against the Galaxy on Sunday, for the final playoff spot, and just six behind the Columbus Crew for seventh. The Fire also have a game at hand over both Columbus and New England, and two over Philadelphia.
The Fire victory was the first of four consecutive home matches to be played by the team including a U.S. Open Cup matchup on June 12th. The Fire host the Portland Timbers on June 8th and the Colorado Rapids on June 19th. The club will close out the month against Columbus in a league match on the road on June 22nd.