A team can only start so bad before their season is effective over. The Chicago Fire definitely put that theory to test. In their first 10 games, they had accumulated just 7 points and were on the verge of falling out of the playoff race before the season was even a third over.
But fortune smiled on them shortly after. Reports first surfaced on May 24 that the Fire had managed to acquire hometown boy Mike Magee in exchange for the rights to Robbie Rogers. It was a trade that would have never happened unless Magee had been trying to get back to Chicago.
The reasons aside, the move could not have possibly worked out better for the Fire. Although Magee didn't play on May 25 against Real Salt Lake, his new teammates pulled out a 1-1 tie to end a three-game losing streak. In Magee's debut on June 2, he scored to help lead the Fire to a 2-0 win over D.C. United. He went on to score in four straight, register at least a point in his first six games and scored and scored eight goals in his first 10 games with his new team.
More importantly, Magee helped lead the Fire to a 12-6-5 finish. Although the Fire fell just short of the playoffs, Magee's performance was more than enough to convince SB Nation's soccer bloggers that he was the most deserving MLS MVP. Magee's 14 votes were twice as many as second-place finisher Robbie Keane. Diego Valeri (two) and Camilo Sanvezzo (two) were the only other players to receive more than one vote.
As it turned out, Magee also fell just short of winning the Golden Boot, as Sanvezzo scored a brace in the final game of the season to take that honor. But Magee's 21 goals rank as the ninth-highest single-season total in league history and would have been the top total in the league in all but one of the past 11 seasons. HIs 21 goals and four assists also rank as the most points ever scored by a player who suited up for two teams in the same season.
What makes Magee's accomplishment all the more remarkable is that it comes in a year in which MLS had no shortage of offensive standouts. This was the first time in league history, for instance, that three different players scored at least 20 goals, with Marco Di Vaio joining the trio. Keane had 16 goals and 11 assists, which would probably rank as one of the best offensive seasons in history if not for Magee. Valeri had 10 goals and 13 assists in his first MLS season, a remarkable achievement in itself.
But none of them could quite compare in terms of impact to Magee. Now he might even get that United States national team callup that has been eluding him.