DC United Preview

Fire try to send off McBride right in last home game


The Basics

Chicago Fire (8-12-8, 32 points, fourth place in Eastern Conference) vs. D.C. United (6-19-3, 21 points, eighth in East) at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

All-time record: United lead series 16-14-8

TV Info

4 p.m. ET on TeleFutura

Game Intro

DC and Chicago are in unfamiliar territory. The perennial Eastern Conference powers sit near the bottom of the league table, already out of playoff contention.

It’s not a place in which either club envisioned being at the beginning of the year, but – however stark it may be – it’s reality, and each team has to deal with it.

Of course, the best way to “deal with it” would be to pick up a win on Saturday afternoon. The Fire took the first meeting of the season, getting two late goals to defeat DC 2-0 at RFK Stadium on April 17.

Chicago Fire

Saturday’s match is the Toyota Park swansong for Brian McBride. The retiring forward, who joined the Fire in the summer of 2008, will be playing his last game in Bridgeview this weekend, as the Fire travel to Southern California to take onChivas USA in next weekend’s season finale.

If McBride’s send-off is to be a good one, the Fire will need to play better than they did on Tuesday against Kansas City. Chicago were completely outclassed in that match, which they eventually lost 2-0.

Expect head coach Carlos de los Cobos to give some younger players some time on Saturday. Rookie center back Kwame Watson-Siriboe should start, and rookie midfielder Corben Bone – who was unceremoniously pulled in the 38th minute of Tuesday’s game – could see some time as well.

D.C. United

United come into this match looking for their third away win in the last month. They beat Toronto at BMO Field last month and defeated Colorado at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park two weeks ago.

Designated Player Branko Boskovic will be available to help DC pick up what they hope will be another road win. The Montenegrin midfielder, who captained his side to a scoreless draw at England earlier this week, should see time on Saturday.

Heroes & villains

Andy Najar vs. Logan Pause: Stopping United’s precocious 17-year-old winger should be the main focal point for the Fire defense Saturday afternoon. The Honduran-born Najar is capable of giving any opponent fits, and the Fire will need to keep him under wraps if they want to send McBride off with a win.

Defensive midfielder Pause figures to see a lot of United’s teen star on Saturday. He’ll need to do a good job of keeping track of the tricky youngster, or the Fire could be in for another long afternoon.

Stat that makes you go “Hmm”

DC have notched more than one league win in just one month this season.