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Sat Oct 16 2010

Chicago Fire v DC United @ Toyota Park: Brian McBride Edition

brian_mcbride.jpg

Welcome to the Brian McBride show. BMB announced his retirement midway through the season and because the Fire have been eliminated from playoff contention, this is his last professional home game. Over 100 BMB friends/family are in the house, he will address the fans after the game, and I get to post BMB videos and memories all game long.

I do believe that MBM is one of the most - maybe THE most - important American soccer player of all time. I'm happy to argue that point forever. Want to fight? Comment below, email me at bdschumanstoler@gmail.com or twitter.

Fire starting lineup: Dykstra; Kinney, Conde, Watson-Siriboe, Umanzor; Ristic, Pause, Lowry, Pappa; Nyarko, McBride (C)

Fire bench: Alec Dufty, C.J. Brown, Baggio Husidic, Corben Bone, Calen Carr, Freddie Ljungberg, Nery Castillo

DCU starting lineup: Perkins; McTavish, James, Jakovic, Zayner; Najar, Morsink, King, Quaranta (C); Hernandez, Allsop

D.C. United bench: Chase Harrison, Junior Carreiro, Branko Boskovic, Clyde Simms, Jordan Graye, Carlos Varela, Adam Cristman

1 min Tweet tweet means game on. I don't like not seeing Freddie in the starting lineup, even in a mostly meaningless game, because I want the Fire to start setting the tone for next year. I am, however, excited to see DCU wunderkind Andy Najar in person.

7 mins BMB shows some of his typical industry, tracking back to slow down a DCU counter attack after a piss poor shot by Umanzor. And now for the first BMB video:

16 mins BMB scores! But he's called offside. Quite a volleyed finish to the back post after some good work by Ristic, though.

18 mins Nyarko scuffs a breakaway chance wide and I get a second to remind you all of Daniel de Rossi's elbow and red card on BMB in that classic 2006 World Cup group stage game. Go to 1:01. There are so many images of BMB all bloodied and it's not inconsequential. BMB is incredible in the air. Never the fastest, tallest, or strongest, he wins headers with timing, fearlessness, desire, and technique. Not much above six feet, he nevertheless played as the target forward for every team he's played for. And he's been effective. More on that in a bit.

24 mins DCU have worked their way back into the game without creating any substantial chances, and the Fire are consistently finding ways to mess up counter attacks. Meanwhile, I've found another hilarious image of BMB (via Kickette):

brianmc.jpg

33 mins Julius James hits side netting on a DCU corner. The Fire look discombobulated, as if this is a meaningless game, which it is, but I hoped that they would play with some pride. After their pathetic loss to Kansas City on Tuesday, CJ Brown talked about that and what it means to miss the playoffs for the just the second time in Fire history:

It's very disappointing; the club has been very successful. I kind of blame myself for stuff like that. I think this year we kind of got away from the 'Tradition, Honor, Passion' that we've always been about. We have a lot of new players in here and when you look at the pictures in the locker room I don't think people know who those guys are. When you put that jersey on you are playing for all of those guys that have been a part of this. I don't think that I've expressed that enough and it's a shame because if you knew this team, you'd want to come in and play for this jersey. So having the results we did this year is very, very disappointing. It's not understandable, but we've had management changes, coaching changes and so many new players coming in that it's almost an excuse, but it's not. We're all professionals, we all getting paid and it's unfortunate to walk away from the season without providing a good performance.

The coaches need to be looking to see who really wants to be a part of the Fire. Players need to play for their club and if they do well, they are going to get opportunities. Look at all the guys that who have come through here and played hard for the Chicago Fire - some are playing in Europe and some are playing for the National Team. The Fire has had some very good players here playing for the badge and they got their opportunities and they've proved that.

40 mins This is the sort of goal that I will always remember BMB for. In a big game, timing his run perfectly, throwing his body around:

In today's game, Najar jukes around Umanzor for the 53rd time today and plays a dangerous cross into the terribly pockmarked and ripped up box. It's finally cleared by Kinney after a DCU striker (who I couldn't differentiate in the mess of bodies) couldn't react quick enough.

44 mins BMB takes a shot from distance but it's well wide right. Reminds me a bit of this one:

I do feel terrible for BMB about one thing. I can't believe he had to play in those Puma Fulham jerseys with the black running down just one shoulder and sleeve like some kind of putrid infection.

45 mins Tweet tweet! BMB ends the first half with a header off a free kick that bounces just wide. Credit to the fans - Toyota Park is mostly full today - they clearly want BMB to net one today. Every time he gets the ball near goal you can feel the anticipation.

The Toyota Park jumbotron just showed a clip of Eddie Johnson giving tribute to BMB as a mentor for him. That's nice.

46 mins Second half starts and Freddie has come on for Marco Pappa. In the first half, Ristic, Pappa, and Nyarko were interchanging at the whings and behind BMB. Freddie will stay central, behind BMB, putting Ristic and Nyarko out wide.

55 mins Wi-fi in the Toyota Park press box is getting worse, so I'm having some trouble loading and uploading videos.

Najar is electric, it's tough to take your eyes off him, but he just made a terrible decision to take a shot one touch from the corner of the box when he had the space and time to control the ball and go right at goal. His shot went about 600 ft. wide. And high.

62 mins Fire sub: Bone comes on for Ristic. Read this about Bone.

Fire look better with Freddie pulling the strings, most of the play is the DCU defensive third. It won't matter if they can't score, though.

63 mins BMB scores! And AGAIN it's called back for offsides. Oh man. Freddie played Nyarko in the box, Nyarko played it back to Freddie, who was - maybe - a foot offsides. Freddie played a gorgeous cross to the back post where BMB nailed the volley into the back post...and then got all pouty. Too bad.

67 mins DCU sub: Varela for Hernandez. Whatever. Someone get BMB a goal.

69 mins One of my favorite BMB goals is at 1:04 on this vid. I love how quick he gets off his feet, and also how he anticipated the defender's mistake.

BMB just got kicked from behind by Jakovic. He went down grabbing his ankle and the all 19k + here at Toyota Park let Jakovic have it. Don't touch the hero, bro.

75 mins You want to see perfect heading technique? Here, go to 0:39:

Fire still looking for their goal. This is like a microcosm for the whole season: plenty of chances, some brief spells of great play, a totally chaotic midfield, and no final product.

78 mins DCU sub: Boskovic for King. DCU win a couple of corners in front of section 8.

This is my favorite BMB goal:

82 mins Fire are passing around from the back through the midfield as well as I've seen all season, but once it gets up top, there's no decisive movement to create the goal everybody so desperately - desperately - want.

84 mins DCU sub: Simms on for the injured James.

89 mins Fire sub: Carr on for BMB. All of Toyota Park are on their feet and BMB is saluting every section. It's a beautiful tribute to a man who deserves it all. And right away Carr is in on goal, Perkins saves his first effort and the ball trickles out to Freddie who has the whole goal to shoot at but Simms slides across and blocks the Swede's certain goal. Would BMB have finished it???

90 + mins Tweet tweet tweeeeeeeeeeeeeet! That's it. Another disappointing 0-0 for the Fire, but a great afternoon in a great stadium for one of the greatest ever.

BMB will address the crowd, and I'm off. Happy autumn, all.

 
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