Dave Johnson: United Earns Road Draw At Chicago Fire

Dave Johnson: United Earns Road Draw At Chicago Fire
October 16, 2010, 10:49 pm
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Saturday, October 16, 2010 6:00PM


By Dave Johnson
CSNWshington.comChicago---For DC United it was like staring in a mirror. Like United, the Chicago Fire are out of the playoffs and preparing to say goodbye to an MLS legend. In Brian McBrides final home game theconnection between the teams extended to the final score, a 0-0 draw before a near-sellout crowd of 19,056 at Toyota ParkMcBride a Chicago area native was one of the first American stars to be developed in MLS. Drafted before the leagues first season by Columbus, McBride used his time with the Crew as a spring board to success with US Mens National Team and then in the English Premier League with Fulham,There was anticipation every time McBride touched or got near the ball from the home crowd eager to see his special day include a goal. Twice McBride did put the ball the in the back of the net but each time it was after a whistle for offside.In the closing seconds of the first half, as he has done so many times in his career, McBride almost scored on a set piece. McBride was able to rise up and get his head on a Wilman Conde free kick, but United goalkeeper Troy Perkins did well to slide over to the far post and deflect it away.McBride was given a chance to soak in the fans appreciation when he was pulled in the 88th minute to a standing ovation. Ironically McBride's substitute, Calen Carr, then had one of the Fires best chance when he slipped behind the United defense. Carr's shot was denied by an alert Perkins who had come off his line.Still the day allowed for reflection on the career of McBride. Afterstarring in collegeat St. Louis University, McBride was the top pick in the first MLS draft. In MLS McBride has bagged 79 goals, and in the EPL with Fulham he scored 40 to go with his 30 goals with the National TeamMcBride, who played in three World Cups, is on the short list of US National teamers to score in more than one World Cup with Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey. ThisSaturdayit will be Uniteds turn to salute a player who helped build and establish MLS when Jamie Moreno suits up in the back and red for the final time in the season finale against Toronto FC at RFK Stadium. Moreno missed the Fire game because of the red card he received in the loss to San Jose.Indeed the similarity and maybe the story of this season for these teams came through on this sun splashed afternoon. There were opportunities and chances, but not the ability to seize the moment and finish those chances. Again United forward Pablo Hernandez is left to think about opportunities lost. Hernandez offers a tremendous work rate and gets himself in position to score, but he has been unable to find the back of the net. Against the Fire he struggled to get the ball on frame.Rookie-of-the-year candidate Andy Najar was his usual inventive self. In the first half Najar slipped free into the box to get on the end of well-time ball by Curt Moorsink. Najar was able to deliver the cross to the six yard box but Danny Allsopp was denied by Fire defender Kwame Waston-Siriboe.Early in the second half United had its best opportunity when midfielder Stephen King surged forward and received a nifty back-heel from Allsopp. Kings blast was saved by Fire goalkeeper Andrew Dysktrsa. Santino Quaranta was unable to score after the ball ricocheted off Dykstra.It was another committed road effort by United, who have more points on the road (12) than they do at home (10). As a team United defended well and at left back Jed Zayner responded to an especially busy afternoon before having to leave the game with injury.Indeed it wouldnt be part of this United season without a defender getting injured. Now the challenge will be to continue the commitment and give Moreno the proper send off he so richly deserves.