BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – In just his second league game with the Chicago Fire, Mike Magee pulled on the captain's armband when Jeff Larentowicz left in the 70th minute of Saturday's 2-2, come-from-behind tie with Portland. But that was symbolic, because by that point, Magee had already taken an emotional lead.
The Chicago native was fiery all game as he tried to will his team back from a two-goal deficit, shouting to teammates when they didn't serve him a pass when he was making a run, directing his fellow attacking players and yelling at officials several times, eventually drawing a yellow card for dissent in the 60th minute.
“Tonight I about lost my mind, I’ll admit it,” Magee said after the game. “I was looking for something, even for myself. I was having a hard time getting the ball. I apologized to the ref like four times, I didn’t mean to yell at him. I was just yelling, showing emotion and trying to light a fire under whoever was looking. Everyone was fighting and battling. Something like this can turn your season around.”
In just three weeks, Magee and fellow recent acquisition Bakary Soumare have transformed the Fire. A team devoid of a skilled veteran at the center back position and missing a goalscorer found both.
The moves are a start, coach Frank Klopas insinuated on Saturday, but Chicago aren't done looking for players. Klopas hinted last week that the club is still looking for goalscorers, telling media that “you can never find enough forwards.”
“I think the two moves that we made, you can see the big difference on the field already,” Klopas said. “We’re not that far off. I do feel we need to add a couple more pieces but Mike and Baky, you can see the impact they’ve had on the group and the difference they’ve made on the field.”
With Magee and Soumare in tow, a different vibe seems to be emanating from the Fire. The Men in Red have strung together points in three straight games for the first time this season.
Saturday's comeback tie had the emotionally charged Magee feeling pretty good, even though his team left two points on the table at home.
“This was best feeling tie I’ve had in a long time, which is kind of crazy to say getting a tie at home,” Magee said. “But for some reason it just feels good just the way we fought and responded being down 2-0.”