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McBride takes one for the team

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Anyone remotely familiar with Chicago Fire forward Brian McBride quickly recognizes that he is the consummate professional. This past weekend simply reaffirmed his identity as a team-oriented leader on this squad.

McBride came off the bench for the Fire during the team's 2-0 victory over D.C. United on Saturday, the squad's first win of the 2010 MLS season. The team went with only one attacker in Collins John, dropping a man back to strengthen the midfield in a 4-5-1 formation.

That left McBride out of the starting lineup. But instead of disappointment or outward displeasure over a rare move to the bench, McBride had an immediate impact, posting a goal and assist in less than 20 minutes of play.

"I will do whatever I can for this team. I'm not bigger than anyone," McBride said. "The whole group is one. And I think it's important that we're all together. So I'm not going to have a problem. Whatever the coach wants me to do, I'm going to do.

“I know what I can do, and I believe in myself. But you're not going to get any problems from me, or any controversial statement, or me telling you what the team should be. Because I'm a player, and I need to be a part of this team."

Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos is not sure when, or if, he will go with that setup again. But based on the result, it would be difficult to rule out.

"It doesn't depend on how many forwards you have. It depends on how many players arrive to the box when you are attacking," De los Cobos said. "It helped us control the time and space, and we had many opportunities to score."

John's take on the attacking logic was a bit different, but like everyone, he was happy with last week's result.

"If you play two up, you might get more chances in the box," John said. "I prefer 4-4-2, but that's my opinion. The coach thought differently, and it worked out because we got the win."

It's unclear if the formation truly was the reason things panned out in the end. After all, the Fire were playing the team with the worst record in the MLS and for the first 80 minutes or so, it was the same ol' story -- chances created, but not finished.

The way D.C. has been playing, the Fire probably would have been able to exploit certain areas no matter what was drawn up in the game plan.

"We played that formation in the preseason for most of the games, so it was not something new," John said. "You just have to follow the way the coach wants you to play. You have no choice. We got our first win, so it is a positive.

"If that was the reason why we won the game, that's another question."