BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Brian McBride is now just one game away to closing the book on his storied career.
On Saturday, he played his final match at Toyota Park, logging 87 minutes in a scoreless draw between his Chicago Fire and D.C. United. He nearly scored on several occasions before coming off to a raucous standing ovation from the crowd of 19,056.
After the match, McBride took of lap of honor with his family, stopping at the center circle to watch well-wishes on the video board and receive a pair of gifts: an inscribed plate from the Fire organization and a large, signed banner from his teammates and fans.
McBride comes out in the 87th minute
McBride then gave a speech, thanking his family, friends, fans and teammates for being a part of his 17-year career.
“This is the best way I can think of stopping my career,” he said. “Being able to share this with the Fire organization and the fans; being able to share this publicly and in front of all of you is something that I appreciate with all my heart.”
After the public ceremony, McBride retreated to the locker room, a place he’s spent countless hours over the years and where the moment sunk in that this was his last game at Toyota Park.
“I’m happy,” he said. “Friends of mine have come to me and said, ‘Do I congratulate you?’ and I said, ‘For sure.’ This is something that I was able to make the choice to do and I feel very blessed to be able to do that.”
McBride will play his last match next Saturday, when the Fire take on Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center.
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.