BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee trained in full Wednesday for the first time in over a week after a recurring hamstring injury kept the 2013 MLS MVP from team’s first two matches of the season.
Magee seemed set to play some part in the season opener at Chivas two weeks ago, even saying he felt “ready to start” but the injury, which began during his time with the team in preseason in Bradenton, came back two days before the match.
Despite that, Fire head coach Frank Yallop named him as part of the 18 for the game but the contingency for the 29-year-old forward was only to play 10 minutes and by the 80th, the manager had already used all three substitutions.
Looking back in retrospect, Yallop said Wednesday the decision to even dress Magee with the hamstring issue was a mistake. Magee didn’t make the bench for Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Portland, a decision the player said he expected early on in the week.
“The Chivas decision was the wrong decision for both of us,” Yallop told reporters. “I learned from that and said if you’re not going 100% now, you’re not involved at Portland. I spoke to him Friday before the game and said you’re not involved at all.”
On the cusp of the team’s first training session at Toyota Park in 2014, Magee said Wednesday he understood the decision.
“It’s extremely frustrating but it’s what’s best. You always want to start the season on the right foot but due to the hamstring, every time I thought that I was coming back and pushing it I was getting minor setbacks. Instead of letting it linger all year I think we made the right choice by trying to get rid of it completely."
Magee’s omission from both matches led to a rumor that a “pre-game bust-up” had occurred between the two prior to the Chivas USA match on March 9
Player and coach dispelled that on Wednesday when Magee tweeted to the reporter who raised the rumor on Twitter, “Sorry but I've yet to have 1 dispute or ‘bust up’ of any sort with @FrankYallop,” with an accopanying photo of him and the Fire manager smiling.
While he wasn’t able to play on Sunday, Magee still had takeaways from the draw at Portland.
“The second game I was frustrated that I couldn’t play but watching the guys was inspiring. To get a draw in Portland was very difficult and I thought they did an amazing job."
With a full training session under his belt on Wednesday, he says he’s ready to finally begin the 2014 season Sunday vs. New York after false starts the first two weeks.
“You always try to stay in yourself, ‘It’s my first game, [the] home opener and expectations are high personally and for the group.’ I’m excited to play with some of these young guys and get off on the right foot.”