Brian McBride is one of the most popular players to ever take the pitch for the Men’s National Team, and he is also one of the most talented. Not only is he the only American to score a goal in more than one World Cup, but two of his three World Cup goals were heroic game winners (over Portugal and Mexico). He also led the team to victory in the 2002 Gold Cup and was named MVP of that tournament.
McBride’s professional career has also been very strong. He played with the Columbus Crew of MLS before moving abroad to Fulham for five seasons. He is now back in MLS to finish his career with the Chicago Fire. He’s already a member of the MLS All-Time Best XI and will only add to his legacy in the next few years. If he can stay healthy, he will likely retire as one of the most successful MLS players ever.
McBride’s career with the Nats featured three World Cups (1998, 2002, 2006) and the 2008 Olympics, where he was the squad’s overage player. The picture of McBride from the 2006 World Cup game against Italy became an instant classic. After taking a brutal De Rossi elbow to the face, McBride stood on the field stoically with blood dripping down his face as if to symbolically say to Italy: “Is that all you got?”
In 96 appearances for the Nats, McBride notched a remarkable 30 goals. His heart cannot be questioned and his generosity is legendary. When he signed his first endorsement deal with Nike, he inserted in his contract a contingency requiring the company to outfit his old high school squad with new uniforms. Such a gesture reflects McBride’s kind nature and reinforces my decision to put him on this Best XI list.