How the mighty have fallen. This is the first year in league history that DC United, New England Revolution, and Chicago Fire will fail to qualify for the playoffs in the same season. DC has been a wreck from day one and it cost new coach Curt Onalfo his job in August after going 3-12-3. Racked with injuries that made the Fire's infirmary list look slim United is on the verge of breaking the league record for least goals scored in a season with a paltry 19 tallies to date. The record for futility is 25.
United acquired forward Pablo Hernandez on loan from
The only reason to watch DC this season has been the emergence of dynamic 17 year old Andy Najar. A product of their youth academy, Najar has scored 5 goals while flashing some of that special flair that's all too often missing from even the top MLS prospects. The rookie is joined in midfield by designated player Branko Boskovic who boasts equal numbers to the Fire's Nery Castillo (0 goals - 0 assists), Kurt Morsink, and assist leader Santino Quaranta. Quaranta, incredibly leads the team in that category with two......yes two assists. Clyde Simms, who previously served as their holding midfielder has also seen time this season as a defender.
Defensively they've also been a mess mostly due to injury. Former Crew Jed Zayner and Jordan Graye have been the starters of late on the outside while Julius James, Dejan Jakovic, and midfielder Devon McTavish have filled out central defense. Troy Perkins has resumed the starting role in goal after an injury to rookie Bill Hamid. Hamid was among MLSsoccer.com's 24 Under 24 list, coming in at #14.
The Fire will be without Dasan Robinson due to issues with his recurring quad injury so expect CJ Brown and Kwame Watson-Siriboe to start in the middle again. Krzyzstof Krol and Bratislav Ristic started against
Marco Pappa is back from international duty and Patrick Nyarko played 52 minutes on Tuesday night despite still suffering through an ankle injury. Peter Lowry and Baggio Husidic are available in midfield and I'd be surprised if De Los Cobos gave Corben Bone another start based on his comments after the KC match. One thing is certain, Logan Pause will assume the holding role with the remaining spots up for grabs. Calen Carr and Nery Castillo are also options as is Ristic after filling in at left and right back. John Thorrington will also be available for selection after missing more time with a quad injury.
The Fire is honoring Brian McBride throughout the day in his last home game and the USMNT legend will get the start up top with Freddie Ljungberg. Castillo entered the
The highlight of the day will be the special events surrounding McBride's last home game and one would hope that the Fire make the effort to honor a teammate who has exemplified what it means to be a professional throughout his career by actually showing up to play this one.
OUT: Mike Banner M (bilateral Achilles tendinitis), Dasan Robinson D (R quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: Sean Johnson GK (hyphema), John Thorrington M (R quad soreness)
OUT: Brandon Barklage M (L acl tear), Marc Burch D (R foot fracture), Bill Hamid GK (R labrum tear), Juan Manuel Pena M (R quad strain), Chris Pontius M (R hamstring tear), Barry Rice D (headaches), Rodney Wallace D (L fibula fracture)
It would be great to send McBride off in style with a win and a goal.
Fire 1 DC 0
The McBride shirt seen in the photo above can be purchased at the Section 8 store.