BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Reigning MLS Most Valuable Player Mike Magee was back in Chicago for the team’s only training session Monday before departing for Sunday’s home opener in Chicago on Wednesday.
After taking some time in preseason to deal with personal matter, the Chicago native re-joined his teammates in Tucson last Wednesday and saw his first preseason action playing the final 21 minutes of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Chivas Rayadas.
With Magee addressing the local media for the first time this preseason, the 29-year-old forward was asked about the rumors that said his time away from the team was due to a contract hold-out.
“Who told you that?” Magee said. “You just made that up man. I don’t know who told you that, no one told me that.”
Asked if his personal matters were resolved, Magee bluntly stated, “My personal situation is resolved yes,” with a heavy emphasis on the word ‘personal’.
Magee was clearly excited to have gotten to play the team’s final friendly on Saturday saying, “Training is cool and all but games are what you’re here for. To get on for 20 minutes, get to meet some of the new guys and see their tendencies was really important.”
Head coach Frank Yallop confirmed Monday that Magee would be used in Sunday’s season opener at Chivas USA.
“[Mike]’s here to play, he’s back now, he’s excited, he’s dealt with the stuff he had,” Yallop told reporters. “He’s chomping at the bit for me to give him the green light. He’ll be involved for sure, at what capacity we’ll figure that out.”
Magee said the minor hamstring issue that caused him to depart from camp in Bradenton, Fla. early last month was fine and countered questions about his fitness with the fact that he spent the entire month of January with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
“My fitness is great,” he said. “I started preseason about four months ago so I’m good.”