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Brian McBride Heading To MLS

A month or so ago we predicted that Brian McBride and Kasey Keller would be heading back to Major League Soccer. Well Fulham announced today that Brian McBride has decided to leave the club and return to America.

The former USA international forward told the club’s official website:

“After much consideration with my family, we have decided to leave Fulham after four and a half fantastic years. I have always stated my intention to return to America at some stage and this seems like the right moment in my career to move on. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the club, the chairman, the staff and wonderful fans for all their support, on and off the pitch, during my time at Fulham. I take great pride in the fact that my last appearance for Fulham saw the club maintain their Premier League status. I leave with some wonderful memories from my time at Fulham and the club will always be in my heart. I would like to wish the club, Roy Hodgson and my team-mates every success for the future.”

McBride is from Ohio and is expected to sign for the Crew. Columbus is 2nd in our MLS Power Rankings  and if McBride signs for Columbus they would have to be prohibitive favorites to win the MLS Cup this year.

From Soccer by Ives on where McBride could go in MLS

The big question now is where will McBride go? Reports have linked McBride to a move to the Chicago Fire, which is his home-town team, but the Fire do not hold the necessary allocation place to sign McBride, or the Designated Player slot you would expect McBride to hold. A trade would likely have to be worked out in order for McBride to wind up with the Fire.

There is also the matter of McBride’s former MLS team, the Columbus Crew, which could desperately use a forward like McBride, who spent nine seasons with the Crew before joining Fulham in 2004.

So who is holding the cards in the McBride sweepstakes? That would be Toronto FC, which currently holds the top spot in the allocation order. Trade offers have already begun pouring in, but prying away that allocation won’t come cheap.

So you have the Fire, which has the trade pieces to get the allocation from Toronto, but not that AND a designated player slot, and you have the Crew, which has the available designated player slot, but not the trade pieces to get the allocation from Toronto.