BY ADAM SERRANO
Brian McBride found the perfect way to end his illustrious career.
McBride scored the opening goal as the Chicago Fire ended their season with an impressive 4-1 victory over Chivas USA. It was a night in farewells at the Home Depot Center as three players played their final match with their respective teams. The match was also the finale for Fire defender C.J. Brown and the last match — for the time being — in MLS for Chivas captain Jonathan Bornstein. Each player was thanked for their respective accomplishments, but the focus was on the end of McBride's storied career.
“There’s been plenty of time for me to contemplate [retirement] and it’s been nice to get a chance to say thank you and finish up the season while still playing,” said Mcbride. “But the win was the best part, and the goal was just the icing on the cake."
The veteran opened the scoring in the 40th minute when Freddie Ljungberg delivered a cross into McBride, who finished with a backheel shot that beat Zach Thornton. In true McBride fashion, the forward picked up an injury on the play but battled on before coming off in the 51st minute. With the goal, McBride finishes his career with 80 goals in MLS to go along with 44 goals in the English Premier League and 30 with the US National team. His career complete, McBride aspires to develop youth academies that center on attacking soccer.
The Fire added goals by Ljungberg in the 47th, Calen Carr in the 68th and Baggio Husidic in the 93th. Chivas USA capped their disappointing season by registering only one goal, Giancarlo Maldonado's strike in the 57th minute. For the Rojiblancos, the focus was around Jonathan Bornstein's final match with the club before his move to Mexican club Tigres UNAL.
Bornstein will be eligible in January to play for Tigres and expects to travel down to Mexico in December. The US international joins the growing ranks of Americans playing in Mexico, but expects more challenges due to his lack of familiarity with Spanish. Although, he did not end his MLS career in as he would have liked, Bornstein's focus is now turned to his new challenges.
“I look forward to the new adventure of moving to mexico and moving down there and starting with a new club," said Bornstein. “After the match[Brown and McBride] went up to me and said good luck with your new club and they said that they’ll be watching so I will need to impress them now, in the end would have liked to go out with a win, but it was a great run here at Chivas.”
The clubs will now begin picking up the pieces after disappointing seasons. Chivas USA finishes the season at 8-18-4 with the worst record in the Western Conference. The Fire end their year 9-19-9, which is fourth best in the East.
2011 will mark the first year that the Fire will play without their steady defender Brown. A Fire original, who played for the team in each of their 13 seasons and won one MLS Cup and four U.S. Open Cups with the club. The defender hopes to enter the coaching field and has aspirations of staying with the team that he spent his entire career playing for.
Brown, who announced his retirement on Thursday had previously been critical of the poor performance that the team has had in this his final season. However, to end with a three goal victory, the 14-year Fire veteran sees hope for the future.
“It’s a tough thing because we put the words tradition, honor and passion on our locker room. I feel that we didn’t do a good job of explaining what the team is about to the new players. We have a lot of individual talent, but we didn’t do a good job of explaining that to the new players," said Brown. "But tonight, we played for one another and At the beginning of the match, they said they were going to go out and play for McBride and myself. If they come with that attitude next year then I think that they can be successful. "