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McBride leaves Fulham, MLS return imminent (updated)


American forward and retired U.S. national standout Brian McBride has parted ways with Fulham FC, the club announced on Wednesday.

McBride, who is a month shy of 36, leaves after scoring 40 goals in 150 appearances for Fulham, including several crucial goals in the Cottagers escape from relegation this season.

“After much consideration with my family, we have decided to leave Fulham after four and a half fantastic years," McBride said in a team-issued statement. "I have always stated my intention to return to America at some stage and this seems like the right moment in my career to move on."

The big question now is where will McBride go? Reports have linked McBride to a move to the Chicago Fire, which is his home-town team, but the Fire do not hold the necessary allocation place to sign McBride, or the Designated Player slot you would expect McBride to hold. A trade would likely have to be worked out in order for McBride to wind up with the Fire.

There is also the matter of McBride’s former MLS team, the Columbus Crew, which could desperately use a forward like McBride, who spent nine seasons with the Crew before joining Fulham in 2004.

So who is holding the cards in the McBride sweepstakes? That would be Toronto FC, which currently holds the top spot in the allocation order. Trade offers have already begun pouring in, but prying away that allocation won’t come cheap.

So you have the Fire, which has the trade pieces to get the allocation from Toronto, but not that AND a designated player slot, and you have the Crew, which has the available designated player slot, but not the trade pieces to get the allocation from Toronto.

One team that must be kicking itself right now is the San Jose Earthquakes. San Jose previously held the top spot in the allocation order, but used it to acquire Peguero Jean-Philippe, who has just been ruled out for the rest of the season because his surgically-repaired knee is a mess. OUCH.

(According to this report from Centerline Soccer, San Jose general manager John Doyle is stating that the Earthquakes have regained the top allocation slot after releasing Peguero. My sources tell me this is not the case and Toronto does have the top allocation slot.)

McBride’s departure from Fulham also increases the likelihood that he will join the U.S. Olympic team. As SBI first reported in March, McBride is interested in being one of the over-age players on the U.S. team, and is a safe bet to join Peter Nowak’s squad.

Where do you think McBride will go? Where should he go? Share your thoughts on McBride’s departure from Fulham below.


  1. Here is what’s going to happen:

    —- McBride —- Rolfe —-

    Mapp —– Blanco —– Thorrington

    ———- Marmol ———-

    Segares – Soumare — Conde – Brown


  2. Given that this is MLS, you have 2 things that could happen – the less likely: McBride comes home as an allocated player. The more likely: He comes home as a DP and the allocation process is bypassed (forget what you think the rules are, the team with a DP spot to offer that is also a location he wants to sign will be the team that signs him – You don’t think Beckham went though the allocation order, do you?).

    Look for Chicago to trade Conde for a DP spot. They’ll be looking to trade to the West – like Dallas or SJ.

  3. It is going to be awesome to read/hear/see you all go ape when the Galaxy trade Canadian Ante Jazic and the #3 allocation spot to Toronto for the #1 allocation spot, and then sign Brian McBride.

    Of course, they’ll then trade Macca to Chicago for a starting center half (bring on Soumare)… but those few hours when McBride belongs to LA is going to incent some hilarious whining.

  4. I feel like there are three possibilities for McBride. In order of likeliness, IMO:

    1) Chicago Fire. He’s an Illinois native, and has expressed interest in playing for Chicago. I feel, as many do, that MLS rules will be flexible if McBride pushes for Chicago, and I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Fire just accepted the penalties for taking him on outside of the rules.

    And the other two are sort of tied:

    Seattle. New team, lots of cash, looking to bring in some big names for their new season. With a name like Thierry Henry on their list, we know they can afford to pay for the players.

    Toronto. They have the top allocation pick. They can also afford to bring him in with the way they’re selling out their games. Though I think if he was willing to go to Canada, he would have said he wanted to return to MLS, not America specifically. Though Toronto isn’t that far from the States.

    But that’s just my opinion. We’ll see how it plays out. Maybe New England will get incredibly lucky (and start to express interest in him) and he’ll end up with the Revs. Probably second least likely behind New York.

  5. Toronto holds the cards here. Mo has went public with his announcement that TFC is interested in him and listening to offers. As is pointed out on the TFC boards, this was probably a pre-emptive move to keep MLS from thinking they would screw over TFC.

    For all those suggesting that TFC will take what is offered and be happy ….. having McBride retire without playing in MLS and us getting nothing is better than the crap that has been mentioned. Frankly why accept some marginal offer and make your rival better? TFC has already taken a player (C Casey) they did not want with an allocation just to try to get value out of his hometown team (Col).

  6. mcbride wants to play in chicago more than chicago needs him. that being the case, i don’t see chicago giving up too much outside of maybe a disgruntled player (hmmm… maybe conde?) and some cash.

  7. Ives, McBride is a lock for Chicago. My source is his cousin, who I date. I spoke to Brian, and he said that its either Fire, or retire (excuse the rhyme.) The question now becomes: what will the Fire have to give up to get him aboard?

  8. I’d like to see RSL work it’s way in here as a method of getting a DP slot to Chicago for a year or two. We’re unlikely to use it in the near future, and I bet we could benefit from what the Fire would be willing to offer for the slot. Is that crazy? Does Chicago have enough to offer Toronto for the allocation and to RSL for the DP slot?

  9. TFC Fan- according to Ives, JCO got us those things on his departure out of the kindness of his heart… not b/c he was forced to…

    EDB- Robinson-> possible (and quite possibly most likely that’s been posted)but like ive said in terms with Soumare, unlikely b/c of the most likely retirements of CJ and Guit soon, and the departure of Conde at the end of the year (or sooner)…

    Conde-> unlikely as he most likely plans to leave the league (unless TFC can somehow work out a quality deal with RBNJ)

    Herron is one of the few i posted that may see a trade…

    i stand by the fact that if we trade people, TFC would have to find the intl’ spaces and the Cap space…. 2 BIG problems… i see MO taking allocation money in hopes to bring over another bigger name when he picks up a DP…

  10. Will- while Osorio may be a great option for the trade, i dont see it happening…

    for one, DeRo has more years ahead of him then McBride does… Houston would give up a quality midfield for a quality forward but would lose out in the years obtained…

    second, DeRo has pointed out he hates playing forward, and would much rather be in the middle… ironically, TFC seems pretty solid in the middle and would either have to shift formations or sit a typical starter on the bench…

    and lets not forget, that DeRo takes up what, 300-400k of Houston’s Cap??? Does TFC have that much space?? would the trade be seen as a Allocation swap?? not sure if it’ll work… assuming DeRo is ready to leave Houston

  11. Donovan at the time was proven and younger.. you cant expect much for a guy with 2 yrs , or 1 & 1/2 left..

    i would think maybe robinson or conde and herron!

  12. Brett – the previous situation where the returning player was placed by MLS to meet the desire of the player was Landon Donovan. LAG had to give up Carlos Ruiz in exchange (their leading scorer having scored 50 goals in 72 games and only mid-20’s at the time). Donovan had age on his side but McBride has proven experience.

    I would certainly say that with that precedent the league would have no problem forcing you guys to give up one of those guys for him. Hell they forced NYRB to give up $$$ and a 1st rounder for your freaking coach.


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