BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- There weren’t many surprises when U.S. Soccer released the 23-man roster for the Men’s National Team’s year-end friendlies at Scotland and Austria Monday morning.
That’s because almost all of the players included have been a part of the team at some point during 2013.
Perhaps the biggest surprise isn’t who was on the roster but one of the omissions coming in the form of Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee.
Reached for comment Monday, Magee simply said, “I was a little surprised not to be called in,” but didn’t care to elaborate further on being left out of the squad.
Perhaps his surprise is warranted.
The Fire forward had a career year in 2013, tallying 24 goals and six assists in 35 competitive matches played for the LA Galaxy and his current club.
Magee finished runner-up by just one goal in the MLS Golden Boot race and has overwhelmingly been credited as the main catalyst that saw the Fire recover from the worst start in franchise history to within an eyelash of an MLS Cup playoff berth.
All of the above have been part of arguments made for him as the league's Most Valuable Player award set to be handed out on December 5.
Beyond that, Magee's 2013 numbers were far better than any other MLS-based call-up, though the likes of Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson and even Chris Wondolowski all have much more established stints with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Magee has been called up for the squad three times before in his career but has had to withdraw twice due to injury.
His only appearance in U.S. Men’s National Team camp came in January/February 2005 but the 29-year-old forward remains the highest scoring U.S.-eligible forward in MLS to not receive an appearance with the national team.
“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t affect me at all. Of course, I want a call-up,” Magee told Sports Illustrated’s Brian Straus last month. “But I’m not going to say it drives me because I’m so motivated by other things.”
While not being included in the U.S. roster to close 2013 may be disappointing, Magee could still have a chance to weigh in the national team equation before next summer’s FIFA World Cup.
U.S. Soccer’s annual January camp is again set to be held to kick off the team’s 2014 schedule in Southern California and Brazil with head coach Jurgen Klinsmann expected to once again call in mostly MLS and Scandinavian-based players.