Fire hope to end season on high note

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire cannot wait to put their 2010 MLS season behind them. Two retiring veterans, defender C.J. Brown and forward Brian McBride, have entered their swan song as Chicago takes on Chivas USA on Saturday at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

The match is mostly for the sentimental as Brown caps off a 13-year MLS career and McBride a 17-year professional campaign that has spanned Arlington Heights and Europe. Other than that, the Fire (8-12-9) simply are trying to build for next season and close a disappointing campaign on a high note.

"For us, it's just trying to get the little things right," Brown said. "You've got to go into every game fighting for a position next year. You hope that's what everybody's doing. At least you want to go out in a little style. You're always as good as your last game. You figure if you can win the last game, then you can feel good about the offseason and go into next season with a little confidence hopefully."

Earlier this week, Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos had not determined which goalkeeper would be in the net. But with Sean Johnson training at 100 percent following an eye injury, it is likely that he will get the start over Andrew Dykstra, who filled in over the past three matches.

No matter who takes over in the net, the continual problem has been a Fire offense that has been shut out on 10 occasions this season. Chicago is coming off back-to-back goose eggs -- a 2-0 loss to the Kansas City Wizards on Oct. 12 and a scoreless draw against D.C. United last week.

De los Cobos has utilized rookie midfielder and 2010 first-round selection Corben Bone in the past two matches -- someone who has seen little playing time all season. So it would only make sense to continue to look at a few lesser-used players on the roster and see how they battle in a finale that has little meaning other than improving a sub-.500 record.

"It has been a frustrating year, so hopefully guys keep their heads up and keep pushing," Brown said. "If I were the coaches I would be trying to figure out who I'm going to keep. I'd definitely be using these games for that, so we'll see."

Chivas captain Jonathan Bornstein is capping off his MLS stint as he transitions to Tigres UANL of the Mexican First Division starting early next year.

Chivas will not be in the postseason, either, as the Goats have struggled mightily this year within the high-powered Western Conference. Chivas (8-17-4) is in last place in the West and has posted a 1-5-0 record over its past six matches, with opponents holding a 12-5 scoring advantage during that stretch.