Los Angeles Soccer: C.J. Brown
Chivas USA wrapped its second-worst season Saturday night with another loss, their sixth in seven games, this one as lopsided as any this year: 4-1 to the visiting Chicago Fire, their fifth three-goal defeat (and their second in succession and third in the final six games).
Ah, a time for celebration. No, really.
The result really didn’t matter, not that Chivas wanted to lose. Houston’s victory over Seattle earlier in the day had consigned the Goats to last place in the Western Conference, so finishing 8-17-4 is only a little worse than 9-16-4 -- and nowhere nearly as poor as the 4-22-6 they posted in 2005, their inaugural year.
This one was about goodbyes more than goals, and the 14,825 that Chivas said was on hand at Home Depot Center got to see Jonathan Bornstein’s last game with the Goats and watch retiring U.S. legend Brian McBride exit with a pretty little goal to start the Fire’s romp.
C.J. Brown, a solid defender who has been toiling admirably since before Major League Soccer was born (and has been with Chicago since the club’s 1998 arrival), also played his final game.
It was an emotional night for all three, in varying degrees. McBride’s 80th MLS goal, a nifty backheel from a Freddie Ljungberg feed in the 40th minute , was “icing on the cake” of “a game we want to win.”
The most absorbing storylines for Major League Soccer's final weekend:END OF THE LINE: Much has been made, and for good reason, of Brian McBride’s final game, but his teammate C.J. Brown, a Chicago Fire original, also will be bowing out when the club visits Home Depot Center on Saturday night to play Chivas USA. It’s also the final game with the Goats, at least for the near future, for Mexico-bound midfielder/defender Jonathan Bornstein.
Jaime Moreno’s long tenure with D.C. United ends, too. The Bolivian forward, who shares MLS’s all-time goals record (with 132) with FC Dallas’ Jeff Cunningham, figures to play on somewhere, and he’s suggested in recent weeks he could be tempted to stay in the league, if there are any offers. D.C. interim coach Ben Olsen, who played alongside Moreno for a decade, says the last remaining player from MLS’s inaugural 1996 campaign will start in Saturday’s game against Toronto FC.
As for McBride, the iconic forward who represented the U.S. at three World Cups, he says the game against Chivas is “the same as any other game,” and Fire coach Carlos de los Cobos hasn’t determined whether he’ll be in the starting lineup.
AWARDS: Last chance for players to make impressions for the big awards: MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defender of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, Best XI -- we’ve got to missing one or two, right? … Coach of the Year, but that won’t go to a player.
L.A.’s Landon Donovan says he’d give the MVP honor to FC Dallas’ David Ferreira, and we tend to agree. San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski says he’d give it to L.A.’s Edson Buddle. All four of them are viable candidates.