nearly all starters -- through international duty and injury, and fielding the youngest team in Major League Soccer history, Magee's header overcame a controversial Galaxy penalty kick early in the second half which had equalized Kenny Arena's first half goal for the home side.
Magee found space at the back post to link onto a cross from midfielder Gilberto Flores just as the clock ticked over into the final minute. The second-year striker headed the ball down against the turf, across the face of the goal and inside the far right post of substitute 'keeper Dan Popik to grab all three points for the MetroStars.
The Galaxy were missing a few starters of their own, with strikers Carlos Ruiz and Jovan Kirovski also away on international duty. As well, Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid was not with the team, instead attending the college graduation of his son, and the team was guided by former MLS defender and assistant coach Martin Vasquez.
The first scoring opportunity of the afternoon fell to the MetroStars in the eighth minute as 17-year-old Eddie Gaven made a good run down the left flank, before laying a ball back to forward John Wolyniec, who attempted to re-direct the ball into goalkeeper Kevin Hartman's near post. But defender Danny Califf swept the ball out of danger in his first game back after an MCL sprain in his right knee had sidelined him for the Galaxy's last eight matches.
Los Angeles had their best chance of the half at the 20-minute mark. Playmaker Andreas Herzog whipped in a dangerous free kick from the left flank that took a deflection inside the box before whistling just wide of goalkeeper Zach Wells' right-hand post.
As the midway point approached, Arena, son of U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena, gave the home side the lead when he scored his first professional goal. Magee sent in a corner kick from the left side and Arena made a darting run into the scrum in the penalty area, and the ball richocheted off of his upper body and bounced into the far corner of the goal.
At halftime, Popik came on for Hartman, who suffered a deep thigh bruise on the Metro goal. The Galaxy backup was immediately served up some good news when Sasha Victorine's cross from the right flank went off the top of Jeff Parke's arm and referee Ricardo Salazar whistled for a handball, giving the Galaxy a 47th-minute penalty kick, despite the vociferous protests from the MetroStars.
Herzog sent a hard shot into the far right corner, beating MetroStars' goalkeeper Zach Wells, who guessed correctly on the play but was unable to reach Herzog's well-struck ball.
The game opened up the rest of the way with the MetroStars quickly taking control. Popik made a terrific save in the 54th minute, diving low and to his left to knock away Gilberto's free kick from 35 yards away. Then Alejandro Moreno should have given the visitors the lead in the 66th minute, getting on the end of a Herzog cross from the left flank, but he couldn't keep his free header from only six yards out on goal and sailed it over the goal.
But the MetroStars were still unable to create quality chances despite their possession and it seemed Popik and the Galaxy would escape with a draw until Magee's heroics put the MetroStars on top late.
The two sides will now travel cross-country to square off with one another on Wednesday in the return match of this home-and-home series at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., with kickoff scheduled for 10:30 p.m. ET.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Mike Magee (MetroStars)
Los Angeles Galaxy (6-4-3) vs. MetroStars (4-3-4)
June 19, 2004 -- Giants Stadium
MET -- Kenny Arena 1 (Mike Magee 1) 42
LA -- Andreas Herzog 4 (penalty kick) 47
MET -- Mike Magee 2 (Gilberto Flores 1, Chris Leitch 2) 90
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Kevin Hartman (Dan Popik 47), Chris Albright, Danny Califf (Hong Myung-Bo 63), Ryan Suarez, Ricky Lewis, Cobi Jones, Andreas Herzog, Marcelo Saragosa, Sasha Victorine, Joseph Ngwenya (Ned Grabavoy 77), Alejandro Moreno.
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Aloisi, Paul Broome.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Andreas Herzog 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Andreas Herzog 1); FOULS: 23 (Alejandro Moreno 5, Marcelo Saragosa 5); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 3 (Andreas Herzog 3); SAVES: 2 (Dan Popik 2)
MetroStars -- Zach Wells, Kenny Arena, Pablo Brenes (Seth Stammler 89), Jeff Parke, Chris Leitch, Tim Regan, Gilberto Flores, Ricardo Clark, Mike Magee, Eddie Gaven, John Wolyniec.
Substitutes Not Used: Tenywa Bonseu, Sergio Galvan Rey, Andrew Terris.
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Gilberto Flores 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (4 tied with 1); FOULS: 14 (Gilberto Flores 3, John Wolyniec 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 7 (Mike Magee 7); SAVES: 0
LA -- Andreas Herzog (caution; Professional Foul) 78
LA -- Marcelo Saragosa (caution; Pushing, Holding) 81
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Chip Reed; Jose Andrade
4th Official: Ken Heller
Time of Game: 2:50