Mike Magee needed a big effort in Saturday's international friendly with South Korea to keep alive his long shot bid to make the U.S. World Cup team.
But he didn't get it, failing to dress for the friendly because of what U.S. Soccer officials said was a case of food poisoning.
Magee, the reigning Major League Soccer most valuable player with the Chicago Fire, was battling a crowded field for a spot at forward. His call-up to the national team for this winter's training camp was his first in nine years. At 29, he was the oldest player in camp who had never played for the U.S. senior team.
He may have two more shots at an international cap before the World Cup roster is selected in May. The U.S. has a friendly scheduled in Ukraine on March 5, although Coach Juergen Klinsmann is likely to summon European-based American forwards such as Aron Johannsson and Jozy Altidore for that game.
The Americans are also in negotiations with Mexico for a friendly in Phoenix in April. Should that game be played, the team Klinsmann is likely to call up would be composed largely of domestic players like Magee.
Still, Saturday's scratch was a huge disappointment.
"Obviously, the most important day is tomorrow," Magee said before the national team's final practice Friday. "And I'm excited and a little nervous at the same time. More than anything, anxious just to get the game underway."
But Magee, who starred for the Galaxy at the StubHub Center before being traded to Chicago last May, also said just being in camp was a positive experience no matter what happens with the team for June's World Cup.
"No regrets," he said. "I've never had any regrets. I'm content with my ability and happy with my camp. No matter what happens, there's still a lot of work to do between now and June."
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