Chivas USA Ends Season With 4-1 Loss To Chicago Fire

October 24, 2010

Carson, California -- Although Saturday’s final regular season match between Chivas USA and the Chicago Fire featured two teams already eliminated from the MLS playoff picture, the game still had two important aspects to it.

First, it would be an opportunity for each franchise to determine what players would be meaningful contributors to their squads next season. Second, it was a farewell game for Chivas USA’s Jonathan Bornstein, and the Chicago Fire’s Brian McBride and C.J. Brown.

Bornstein will be moving to Mexico to play with Tigres UANL of the Mexican Primera Division. As a defender with Chivas USA for the past 5 seasons, Bornstein holds the club record for games played and games started, and brought a defensive presence that will be hard to fill once he departs.

However, the USA National Team hopes that Bornstein’s experience with Tigres UANL will be an impactful one, as he will be expected to continue his contribution to the U.S. Team following his play in the 2010 World Cup.

Unfortunately, MLS will also be losing an American soccer hero in Brian McBride. McBride has had a remarkable career that included 80 goals in MLS, successful seasons while playing in the English Premier League, and vital contributions to the U.S. National Team in the 1998, 2002, and 2006 FIFA World Cups.

Finally, C.J. Brown played his final MLS game after 13 seasons with the Fire dating back to the club’s inaugural season.

The Chivas-Fire match-up would be full of action as the game got off to a quick start with the Fire earning a free-kick from about 28 yards out following a Jorge Flores foul in the 6th minute. Even though the Fire could not pose any threat on the ensuing set-piece, the Fire would continue to control the game in the following minutes.

In the 9th minute, Bratislav Ristic crossed the ball into Marco Pappa of the Fire, but a close offside call was made by the assistant referee. In the 18th minute, Freddie Ljungberg delivered a corner kick that Brian McBride almost put into the back of the net.

The Fire would continue to have more opportunities with a Pappa cross to McBride for a header in the 23rd minute, and a Fire corner-kick in the 30th minute, amongst other scoring chances.

In the 33rd minute, Chivas USA would fight back with a burst of shots on goal in a matter of seconds. Flores set up Ben Zemanski of Chivas USA for a shot that was solidly hit on target. The ball would bounce off Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson and leave Jesus Padilla with a wide-open shot on goal that he missed, however Padilla was called offside.

In the 40th minute, Brian McBride would put a memorable finishing touch on his career and give the Fire the lead with an amazing heel flick goal.

Freddie Ljunberg went past three Chivas USA defenders in the 18-yard box and sent a pass into McBride in the 6-yard box. With Chivas USA defenders moving to the near post to deny McBride the goal, he let the ball pass him and score in the empty far-side of goal. The goal was the 80th in McBride's brilliant MLS career.

The Chicago Fire would build on their 1-0 halftime lead as they scored for a second time in the 48th minute. Pappa assisted on the goal as he passed the ball to Ljungberg, who scored with his left foot from 12 yards away with a shot that beat Chivas USA goalkeeper Zach Thornton.

Following more Fire scoring threats in the 54th minute, Chivas USA would raise the excitement of the fans by making it a 1-goal game in the 58th minute. From the right side, Sal Zizzo delivered a great cross to Giancarlo Maldonado, who scored on a header from 7 yards away from goal. The goal would be Maldonado’s second of the season, and Zizzo’s first assist.

Chivas USA would continue to put pressure on the Fire in the 58th minute when Justin Braun -- a young playmaking star that Chivas USA hopes to build around in the years ahead -- made a fantastic play around the defense and threatened to score, but his shot was deflected.

With the Fire holding a 2-1 lead, Chicago would score for a third time in the 68th minute on a breakaway goal by Calen Carr, who was just barely called onside by the referee’s assistant on the sideline.

The game heated up in the 71st minute when Rodolfo Espinoza recklessly tackled Freddie Ljunberg and both sides started shoving each other. Head referee, Paul Ward, booked both Ljunberg and Espinoza with yellow cards.

In the following minutes, Chivas USA and the Fire would each fight hard and create scoring chances for their respective teams.

As the game entered the 86th minute of play, Jonathan Bornstein of Chivas USA was substituted out and the home crowd gave Bornstein an ovation as he left. The Chicago Fire would then end the season on a winning note with a 4-1 win, as they scored on Ristic’s follow-up header in the 3rd minute of stoppage time.

Following the game, McBride offered some reflections, stating that he has "enjoyed" his career, that he is ready to retire after a great farewell game at Chicago last weekend, and that his goal was a nice way to leave the MLS.

Additionally, Chivas USA coach Martin Vasquez stated that it has been a "rough" year for the club, but that the team must learn from this season and start to re-evaluate the squad in order to prepare for the future.

By Brian Kowalski
Contributing Writer to

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