Featured / MLS / Union / USMNT

Captain America farewell tour

Reminding Robbie Findley that dribbling out of bounds does not, in fact, make one a good player, beautiful.  Letting Freddy Montero have it every time he is sent cartwheeling by an invisible land mine, I’m for it.  Berating Kansas City Wizard and Union reject Shavar Thomas for being, well, terrible, bring it on.  I’m even cool with the drunken idiot behind me screaming at Kevin Hartman, “Hey Keeps, you’re fat!  Everyone look, Fat Keeps, Keeps is fat!”  But this weekend, it’s time for the Philly faithful to change our tune, if only briefly.

Following one of the most illustrious careers in the history of US soccer, the Chicago Fire’s Brian McBride is calling time on his career at the end of this season.  This is no ordinary career.  An MLS original with the Columbus Crew, McBride banged home 62 goals and assisted on 45 others while doing all the little things that do not show up on a score sheet all while helping a fledgling league gain its feet.

Fulham Captain

McBride’s unceasing workrate was never more apparent than when he got his chance in the EPL with Fulham in 2004, following successful loan spells in 2000 with Preston North End and in 2002 with Everton.  The Cottagers were able to steal McBride from MLS for a paltry $1.5M and saw their investment flourish.  In his four and a half year tenure along the Thames, McBride was twice awarded Fulham Player of the Year and received the captain’s armband in August 2007.  Upon his decision to return to the States with his family to see out the rest of his career in Chicago, near his hometown of Arlington Heights, Illinois, the praise and adoration from Fulham supporters flowed in copious amounts and in 2009 a bar inside Craven Cottage was renamed “McBride’s”.

This is just one of a litany of McBride tribute compilations (it’s worth spending the time to check out some others) :

The most impressive part of these compilations, watching goal after goal bulge the opposition’s net, is the manner in which they are scored.  Shots from distance, volleys, outjumping defenders and diving headers, for a player never lauded as a flawless tactician, McBride did all the work required to put himself in the right position to make a play. Unlike modern strikers like Peter Crouch, Nikola Zigic and Fernando Llorente who all tower at 6′-6″ plus and still struggle to control a match, McBride stands only 6′-0″ and in a period in English soccer where long ball tactics were the norm, British commentators salivated at McBride’s hold up play and his ability to play with his back to goal or running at it.

Tough as Nails

For the US National Team, McBride also proved a stand-out talent and left permanent mark’s on the memory of every American fan.  He played a major part in three different World Cups campaigns: 1998 (where he scored the only US goal), 2002 (two goals) and 2006, and with 30 goals in 96 appearances for the Red, White and Blue, he contributed immensely to American soccer’s progress in the passed decade.  Despite these tremendous contributions, his face is best remembered from a time when he did not factor in a goal, the 1-1 draw with Italy in 2006 World Cup, in which his face saw the brunt of Daniele de Rossi’s elbow :

But do not forget an even more important moment in 2002.  After setting up the first goal, McBride’s header for the American’s third tally, turned out to be the match winner in a shocking first round 3-2 upset of Portugal (Check out the second goal as well, a deflection off a shot by then 8 year old Landon Donovan) :

In summarizing the career of Brian McBride, I would be remiss should I fail to mention his exemplary character.  This is an EPL and international striker who has never taken a dive.  That alone puts him miles apart from his contemporaries.  His effort and fearless play constantly put him in harms way and vicious elbows, late tackles, shirt pulling and all manner of dangerous behaviors are the kind of treatment that he simply fights through.  No lip to the ref, no exasperated hand gestures, no being restrained by his teammates, no getting in the oppositions’ face, ever.  Roy Hodgson, McBride’s former manager summarized his captain, “His attitude is second to none, Brian is a true pro in every sense of the word.”   That’s why he is Captain America.

Yes, even in this jersey

So my point is simple.  I don’t like the Fire, I cannot stand Freddy Ljungberg and Marco Pappa is a stupid name, but Brian McBride is an American soccer hero.  Let’s show him our appreciation for his years of service to US soccer.

Philadelphia fans pride themselves on being as knowledgeable as they are tough and now is the time to show it by STANDING and giving a great player his due on this, his only trip to PPL Park.

And food for thought.  In a few years time, perhaps four to be precise, he could very well be the leading candidate to take over the coaching duties for the National Team.  I’ll be pulling for him.


  1. Perhaps Coach Bradley should consider calling him up for one more time at the friendly in October 12, 2010

  2. “This is an EPL and international striker who has never taken a dive. That alone puts him miles apart from his contemporaries.” Indeed.

  3. Ed Farnsworth says:

    One of my favorite US national team players and a true gentleman warrior who should stand as an example to players young and old. “Tough as nails?” Damn right!

  4. don’t care about the usmnt. don’t care about chicago. don’t care about mcbride. go union.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *