More than two-thirds of MLSsoccer.com voters want Brian McBride to earn one final cap with the United States takes on Poland in Chicago on October 9.
It's a nice sentiment, but it's misplaced.
The three-time World Cup veteran deserves an epic celebration. Bring out the stars. Set off enough fireworks to make the Aris-PAOK display look like sparklers on a birthday cake. Make sure they can see it in Milwaukee where he began his glorious career and Columbus, where he cemented his MLS legacy. I don't know if they can light up the sky at Fulham, but they can darn well try.
But leave McBride in a Chicago Fire uniform.
What would McBride's appearance in a Stars-and-Stripes uniform accomplish? He'd get his 97th cap (not a milestone). He could score his 31st goal (he'd need four tallies to tie Eric Wynalda for second all-time). He'd get a hell of an ovation (that would happen regardless).
The negative consequences are obvious. The 38-year-old could get hurt. He could look out of his depth. He'd certainly be a distraction from the actual game, something the ultimate team player would abhor.
But more than that, the U.S. team has moved on since he retired in 2006, and McBride himself has been one of the more vocal proponents of this fact.
While his name jumps into the conversation whenever the new crop of American strikers struggles (which is to say frequently), the Illinois-born player hasn't pushed to return to the ranks of international soccer. If anything, he's attempted to extinguish the flames of possibility. McBride is content to play out his days for the Fire; he knows his day on the national team has come and gone. He retired on his own terms. We should respect his wishes.
McBride's legacy as a star of American soccer, a wonderful role model, and a better human being is secure. He deserves to be feted with a massive ceremony at Soldier Field. But donning the Red-White-and-Blue he wore so honorably one more time proves nothing. After all, he really has nothing left to prove.