BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Mike Magee did plenty right during the Chicago Fire's 2-2 tie with Portland on Saturday – he was an emotional leader, a goalscorer, and even donned the captain's armband for 20 minutes.
But the newly-acquired striker's greatest contribution to the Fire's two-goal comeback came when he decided to defer.
With Chicago down 2-1 in the 82nd minute, Magee earned a free kick just outside the box, and he immediately stepped up to take it. But midfielder Daniel Paladini stood over the ball and convinced Magee, who was wearing the captain's armband, to let him take the eventual game-tying kick.
“He called it first, and I said, 'No, I got it,' and he said, 'It's from my spot,'” Magee said. “When a guy says that, you've got to give it to him.”
Magee wasn't done being involved with the play. As he set the ball down and backed off, Paladini began his run, and he whipped in a free kick to the near post, which curled past goalkeeper Milos Kocic, who appeared to be caught off-guard.
“I told him he can have the assist, because when he backed up, he told me to hit it,” Paladini said. “[Kocic] looked down to his left and I was already going, all I had to do was get it over and hit it right.”
Paladini's strike came 14 minutes after Magee brought Chicago within one when he pounced on a Portland mistake to score on an open goal. In just his second game with the club, Magee became the first Fire player to score in multiple games this season.
Paladini became the second.
While Magee is confident in his free-kick abilities, he doesn't think he'll be taking them any time soon, at least not when Paladini's in the game.
“Obviously he'll get free kicks from now on,” Magee said. “I won't argue it again.”