CARSON, Calif. – Mike Magee is happy with how he's performed in his first US national team camp in nine years, and he hopes to top it off with a fine showing in Saturday's World Cup primer against the Korea Republic.
The Chicago Fire forward, MLS' MVP last season, has been used exclusively up top during the nearly four-week camp at StubHub Center, the site of Saturday’s game (5 pm ET; ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMas), and São Paulo FC's training ground, the facility the Yanks will use during the World Cup.
“Camp's great,” Magee told reporters on Friday, as the US began their first stadium session at StubHub. “Obviously, the most important day is tomorrow. And I'm excited and a little nervous at the same time and more than anything anxious to just get the game underway.”
Magee, 29, last was with the national team at the 2005 January camp, and he had to depart early because of injury. He worked his way back into the pool thanks to several solid years with the LA Galaxy and a tremendous performance last season for the Galaxy and then Fire, finishing second in the league with 21 goals.
He looked like a long-time international as soon as he arrived, US coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.
“Mike was an easy transition because he's been around the block for quite awhile,” Klinsmann told reporters. “So he was not really nervous about it. He was happy, he is thrilled he is part of the group, and he kind of fit right in, in the training scrimmages that we had and in the group anyway. He's a guy that adjusts easily to his teammates and is part of the group right away.”
Magee said he's had a blast and hopes it will lead to more opportunities and perhaps a spot among the 23 players Klinsmann and his staff will take to Brazil.
“I think it's a great group of guys, and the level was high,” Magee said. “I played well. I'm happy with my camp and know I need to keep going from there. It was good to get my foot in the door, and now I just need to keep getting better and keep improving and keep on making good impressions.”
What did he teach Klinsmann about his game?
“I have no idea. That's for him to say,” Magee said. “I hope it's that I'm a competitor and a guy who wants to be here, but, ultimately, that's up to him.”
No judgments from Klinsmann, at least not publicly.
“We're happy that we finally had a closer look at him,” the coach said, “and hopefully he gets a chance tomorrow to show this also on a bigger stage.”
Whether he scores four goals against the Koreans or spends the entire match on the bench, Magee is satisfied with what he's done.
“Obviously, four goals sounds better than not playing,” he said, “but I'm content with my ability and happy with my camp to know that no matter what happens, there's still a lot of work to do between now and June and work to do for my club team.
“So it's going to be a good day tomorrow, no matter what.”