Brian McBride is about to end a 17-year career that has made him
one of the United States’ most successful soccer players in a
McBride will play his final home game Saturday night for the
Chicago Fire when they host D.C. United in a matchup of teams
finishing up disappointing seasons.
Chicago (8-12-8) will miss the playoffs for the first time in
six years while D.C. (6-19-3) has endured a miserable season with a
league-low 21 points, but the failed campaigns of these proud
franchises that have combined to win five MLS Cups will take a back
seat Saturday with the focus squarely on McBride.
The striker, who grew up in suburban Chicago, spent a season in
Germany with VfL Wolfsburg before joining MLS to play for Columbus
from 1996-2004. McBride’s stature grew following a successful
four-year stint with English Premier League club Fulham, which
named a pub after him at home stadium Craven Cottage.
McBride was also a longtime standout for the United States
national team. He played on three World Cup teams and is third on
the U.S. scoring list with 30 goals.
After leaving Fulham, McBride returned to Chicago to finish his
career. He announced his retirement earlier this season, and will
be honored in pregame, halftime and postgame ceremonies
“My thoughts are firstly on the game and making sure we’re
prepared,” McBride said. “Secondly, it’s going to be a special
time. There’s going to be a lot of friends and family there. My
wife is putting a lot of work into trying to make it special and so
is the Fire and people surrounding the Fire.”
McBride has earned plaudits from numerous coaches and teammates
for his dominant aerial play, team spirit and toughness. His
professionalism has been on display even in a dismal year for the
“I always say the same thing to all the players: ‘Be like Brian
McBride,'” coach Carlos de los Cobos said. “Even now, he is still
the first person out there in practice.”
McBride is second on the team with five goals. He scored in a
2-0 victory over Columbus last Friday in the opener of this
three-game homestand, although the Fire lost 2-0 to Kansas City on
D.C. will have numerous players back after being short-handed in
last Saturday’s 2-0 home loss to San Jose. Montenegro midfielder
Branko Boskovic and Trinidad and Tobago defender Julius James will
return from international duty while midfielder Andy Najar will be
back from a suspension.
“I am not freaking out about this game, believe me,” interim
coach Ben Olsen said after the loss. “We’ll gonna get some guys
back for Chicago and we’ll try and end it, try and end this season
in a positive way.”
MLS all-time leading scorer Jaime Moreno is suspended after
being sent off against the Earthquakes.
McBride and Marco Pappa scored in Chicago’s 2-0 victory at RFK
Stadium on April 17.