CARSON, Calif. – Retiring veteran Brian McBride closed out his professional career in style on Saturday night, scoring a brilliant heel-flick goal to lead the Chicago Fire to a dominating 4-1 victory over Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center.
Not content to simply take a victory lap on Saturday night, McBride was dangerous all evening for the visitors. He nearly opened the scoring in the 18th minute with a trademark leaping header on a Ljungberg corner kick, but his effort sailed just wide of the right post.
He finally broke through in the 40th minute when he made a darting run into the Goats box to heel-flick a low pass from Ljungberg past Chivas goalkeeper Zach Thornton for 1-0.
McBride, who turned 38 this year, played a solid 51 minutes in his final appearance before subbing off the field to thunderous applause from the Home Depot Center crowd.
Chicago continued to press in the second half and doubled their lead in the 51st minute. Collecting a loose ball in the midfield, Marco Pappa raced down the left flank and fed a low cross into the Chivas penalty spot for Ljungerg to one-touch into the right side of Thornton’s net for a 2-0 lead.
Chivas USA struggled all evening to find any real offensive spark. They had looked good early, finding some inspiration from Rodolfo Espinoza on the left flank, but failed to provide any consistent threat to Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson. Jesus Padilla almost found the back of the net in the 33rd minute but missed a wide open goal from six yards out.
Giancarlo Maldonado did manage to cut the lead in half in the 57th minute after he headed a Sal Zizzo cross into the top right corner of the Chicago net, but his was the only goal that the Goats saw in their final game of the 2010 MLS season.
The Fire added a third in the 68th minute when Calen Carr collected a long lofted pass from Logan Pause and broke away toward net. Thornton charged off his line to smother the attempt, but Carr sidestepped the big Chivas ‘keeper to slot the ball home into an empty net to make it 3-1.
The final 20 minutes of the game were a chippy affair – Ljungberg and Espinoza in particular were at each other’s throats all evening and nearly came to blows in the 72nd minute after a hard foul from Espinoza. Both were given yellow cards.
Chicago’s Baggio Husidic added a fourth goal in the dying moments of stoppage time, heading home the rebound from a Marco Pappa blast that ricocheted off the hands of Thornton.
Besides McBride, the game also marked the Major League Soccer farewell of Fire defender C.J. Brown, who is retiring after a 13-year career, all spent in Chicago.
Chivas USA captain Jonathan Bornstein also took his MLS bow before moving south to join Mexican First Division side Tigres UANL. The 25-year-old finished a five-year career with the Goats in style, taking a moment to thank the fans after the final whistle.
CHI -- Brian McBride 6 (Freddie Ljungberg 6) 40
CHI -- Freddie Ljungberg 2 (Marco Pappa 5) 47
CHV -- Giancarlo Maldonado 2 (Sal Zizzo 1) 57
CHI -- Calen Carr 3 (Logan Pause 3, Freddie Ljungberg 7) 68
CHI -- Baggio Husidic 5 (unassisted) 93+
CHV -- Jorge Flores (caution; Tactical Foul) 5
CHV -- Carlos Borja (caution; Reckless Foul) 44
CHI -- Wilman Conde (caution; Reckless Tackle) 47+
CHV -- Giancarlo Maldonado (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 59
CHV -- Ben Zemanski (caution; Tactical Foul) 64
CHV -- Rodolfo Espinoza (caution; Reckless Tackle) 71
CHI -- Freddie Ljungberg (caution; Verbal Distraction) 72
CHV -- Ante Jazic (caution; Reckless Tackle) 89
Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson, Steven Kinney (Patrick Nyarko 58), Deris Umanzor, C.J. Brown, Wilman Conde, Bratislav Ristic, Logan Pause, Peter Lowry, Marco Pappa, Freddie Ljungberg (Baggio Husidic 87), Brian McBride (Calen Carr 51).
Substitutes Not Used: Corben Bone, Nery Castillo, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Andrew Dykstra.
Chivas USA -- Zach Thornton, Mariano Trujillo, Carlos Borja, Ante Jazic, Jonathan Bornstein (Bryan de la Fuente 85), Rodolfo Espinoza, Paulo Nagamura, Ben Zemanski, Jorge Flores (Sal Zizzo 46), Justin Braun, Jesus Padilla (Giancarlo Maldonado 51).
Substitutes Not Used: Michael Lahoud, Osael Romero, Marcelo Saragosa, Kevin Guppy.
Referee: Paul Ward
Referee's Assistants: Eric Boria; Peter Manikowski
4th Official: David Gantar
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Cloudy and 64 degrees