CARSON, Calif. -- The defending champs' new attack generated more than enough offense to claim a victory in their Major League Soccer season opener Sunday afternoon, with Mike Magee scoring a hat trick in the LA Galaxy's 4-0 rout of the visiting Chicago Fire.
The Chicago-born Magee scored in the 38th, 68th and 74th minutes and Robbie Keane, who played a role in all three of the strikes, added an 80th-minute goal as the LA Galaxy romped in front of 20,104 at the Home Depot Center.
It was a strong start to LA's post-David Beckham era, with Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas teaming in midfield to repeatedly create attacking space and, in the second half, take advantage of that. Sarvas was the primary provider in midfield as the Galaxy looked to play primarily through midfield after employing a more direct, long-ball attack during Beckham's tenure.
Chicago, missing defender Arne Friedrich (hamstring) and midfielder Logan Pause (quadriceps) with injuries incurred last week in training, struggled to work through the Galaxy midfield and couldn't quiet Magee, who started up top with Keane in Landon Donovan's continued absence.
Magee might have scored five in all, but he'll be pleased with his first career hat trick and just his second multigoal game.
Magee gave the the Galaxy the lead after Sarvas and Keane linked up to find Todd Dunivant on the left side of Chicago's box. Dunivant tried to play the ball across the box, but it was deflected by defender Steven Kinney toward Magee, who volleyed inside the right post from about 12 yards.
Keane fed Magee's second goal, splitting two defenders after he couldn't find an open shot at the top of the box, and Magee netted the third after Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson stopped Keane at the right post. Magee took the rebound off his chest on the bounce, then turned and volleyed home off another bounce.
Keane netted the fourth following a corner kick, after Omar Gonzalez headed a cross from Michael Stephens.
Chicago nearly went ahead in the 32nd minute after goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, after receiving a back pass from A.J. DeLaGarza, turned it over to Chris Rolfe under pressure from Maicon Santos. Rolfe fired wide of the right post. Cudicini parried a Maicon Santos free kick over the crossbar in the 60th minute.
The Galaxy return to action in the CONCACAF Champions League on the road March 7 against Costa Rican side Club Herediano, while the Fire host New England in their home opener on March 9.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Mike Magee (LA)||Doesn't he usually save this type of stuff for the playoffs? Everywhere he needed to be, just about every time,|
|2||Marcelo Sarvas (LA)||Attack flowed through him, and he usually played first ball on the effective LA attacks.|
|3||Juninho (LA)||Defensive work limited Chicago's ability to built an attack.|