Outside of the goals, the 31st minute of Wednesday’s 3-1 U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal win in Atlanta provided the biggest sparks of the match as Fire forward Mike Magee and Silverbacks midfielder Jesus Gonzalez both saw red after an altercation at the touch line.
The instance: Picking up the ball as it went out of bounds, Magee saw it slapped out of his hands by Gonzalez. Kicking out but not connecting was the 2013 MLS MVP’s instant reaction which caused another reaction from the players on the field.
As referee Edvin Jurisevic rushed over, Magee and Gonzalez put their heads together, with the Silverbacks midfielder appearing to push slightly forward, causing both players to react as if the other had committed an offense.
The verdict: Both players were sent off in the 31s minute, forcing their sides to play with 10 men the rest of the way.
While Magee didn’t agree with Jurisevic’s decision, he says the fact that he put himself in the situation is regretful.
“Of course you get sent off and you look back,” Magee told Chicago-Fire.com Tuesday. “You kind of do stuff and you leave it to a ref to make a decision. Although it was a bad decision, I’ve been around long enough to know you shouldn’t leave it in someone else’s hands.
“I don’t think it’s a red card. Worst case scenario, they should have given us both yellows and been done but to sum it all up I should have been smarter. There’s regret.”
The win pushes the Fire to the club’s 10th U.S. Open Cup semifinal appearance (an MLS record) and third in the last four seasons as they visit the Seattle Sounders in a re-match of the 2011 U.S. Open Cup final on August 13.
Unfortunately, the Fire are 0-7-3 across all competitions against Seattle and will have to face the three-time Open Cup champs without their top forward in Magee, who will be serving his mandatory one-match suspension.
- BOX SCORE: Chicago Fire 3, Atlanta Silverbacks 1
“It sucks,” Magee said about missing the semifinal. “Frank came up to me before this game and asked how I felt and if I wanted to play. I told him I needed to. If I wanted to play here against the Silverbacks, obviously I want to play against Seattle in the semifinals.
“It’s really hard for me to watch games from the bench or on TV – a game as important as that and to do something stupid that keeps me out, it won’t be easy but that’s on me. We win and lose as a team and I’m behind my teammates as they go to Seattle.”
Magee will look to put Wednesday’s incident behind him quickly as the Fire return to league play Saturday at New England (6:30pm CT on My50/TWCSC). Despite the match being the team’s fourth game in 11 days, Magee says he thrives in these situations.
“I’m more rested and I’m fine. I usually handle three games in a week without any issues. I’ve done it a million times in my career and I think the times I’ve had the quick turnarounds I’ve been at my best.”