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Friday, October 15, 2010
Fire's home finale all about McBride

By Charlie Corr

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- If Major League Soccer or the Chicago Fire wanted to etch a quote on a plaque that best describes Fire forward Brian McBride, it would read something along the lines of "It's not about me."

McBride said that a couple of times following the Fire's most recent 2-0 loss to the Kansas City Wizards.

From the public's standpoint, it is difficult to watch the Arlington Heights native's final year of professional soccer end without a postseason and a sub-.500 record. Nevertheless, McBride will not be able to escape the individual focus when the Fire properly recognize the U.S. soccer icon during Chicago's home finale against D.C. United on Saturday at Toyota Park.

The pre-game, halftime and post-game will be peppered with acknowledgment of McBride's soccer career. But in between, McBride is going to do what he has been doing for a 17-year professional career -- help his Fire squad win a match.

"This is about our team and trying to do things right so we're ending the season on the right note, rather than going in with our tail between our legs," McBride said after the loss to the Wizards. "On Saturday, we have to come out with a lot more energy from the very beginning, and be more focused."

The Fire will need to find some fluidity and cohesiveness that were sorely lacking during the Wizards match.

"The games where we come out fighting for each other and all 11 players are wanting to be out there and working for the team are the times where we do well," McBride said. "Some of those times during the season we didn't get our goal and that hurt us. But [the Wizards game] wasn't a day like that."

Midfielder and scoring leader Marco Pappa returns for the Fire following a stint with his Guatemalan national team. Pappa scored the game-winning goal during the Fire's 2-0 victory over D.C. on April 17 at RFK Stadium. McBride had the second tally off of an Andrew Dykstra assist.

The Fire (8-12-8, 32 points) are sitting on four home victories, looking to match last season's five-win total at Toyota Park. The only other team in MLS with fewer home victories this year is D.C. with three.

United sits at the bottom of the MLS table with a 6-19-3 record and 21 points. D.C. has netted only 19 goals in 28 matches, and the squad will be without long-time forward Jaime Moreno. He is serving a red card issued 8 minutes into United's previous 2-0 loss against the San Jose Earthquakes.

U.S. withdraws from 2018 Cup bid, focused on '22: On Friday, the USA Bid Committee announced that it withdrew its bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and is now squarely focused on 2022. "We have had an open and constructive dialogue with the USA Bid for some time now, after it became apparent that there was a growing movement to state the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Europe," FIFA secretary generate Jerome Valcke said.