As rumors of a loan move swirled across the Atlantic, Brian McBride spent Sunday scoring a goal and helping his Chicago Fire kick off its preseason with a 5-0 victory against Central Florida in a scrimmage in Bradenton.
McBride, linked to a potential loan move to Fulham, headed home a Justin Mapp cross in the 25th minute in a match that saw liberal substitution and the debuts of several new faces for the Fire. Concordia product Stefan Dimitrov scored two more for the Fire to continue an impressive training camp, while trialists Michel Moungue and Idrissa Kone also added goals.
One Fire player who was not in attendance on Sunday was Colombian defender Wilman Conde, who has yet to join Chicago this pre-season. A team source tells SBI that Conde's late arrival is a visa issue, and not a holdout.
Cuauhtemoc Blanco is with the team in Bradenton but did not take part in the match. Also missing were Chris Rolfe, John Thorrington and Jon Busch, who are all with the U.S. national team in Carson, California.
A familiar name that did play for Chicago on Sunday is Tim Ward. The former U.S. Under-20 defender is trying to latch on with the Fire after being let go by the Colorado Rapids after the 2008 season.
Here are the lineups Chicago used on Sunday:
Starting lineup: GK-Nick Noble, D-Tim Ward, D-Bakary Soumare, D-CJ Brown, D-Gonzalo Segares, M-Mike Banner, M-Logan Pause M-Peter Lowry, M-Justin Mapp, F-Patrick Nyarko, F-Brian McBride.
30th minute: GK-Tyler Kettering, D-Tim Ward, D-Dasan Robinson, D-Bakary Soumare, D-Roland Paul Bebey King, M-Mike Banner (Michel Moungue 45′), M-Baggio Husidic, M-Peter Lowry, M-Austin Washington, F-Richard Jata, F-Stefan Dimitrov.
60th minute: GK-Joe Nasco, D- Roland Paul Bebey Kingue, D-Igor Lozo, D-Dasan Robinson, D-Daniel Woolard, M-Michel Moungue, M-Baggio Husidic, M-Gerson dos Santos, M-Austin Washington, F- Robson Chavez Santana, F-Idrissa Kone.
The Fire will return to action on Wednesday with a scrimmage against Eastern Conference rival Kansas City.