Author Topic: Monday Fulham Stuff - 13/01/20...  (Read 945 times)

Online whitejc

  • Administrator
  • Mornington Crescent
  • *
  • Posts: 62039
  • I'm tall for my height
Monday Fulham Stuff - 13/01/20...
« on: January 12, 2020, 12:54:00 PM »


Online whitejc

  • Administrator
  • Mornington Crescent
  • *
  • Posts: 62039
  • I'm tall for my height
Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 13/01/20...
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2020, 12:55:29 PM »
Can surgeon's son Bryan keep Watford's top-flight hopes alive?

The father of Watford target Joe Bryan saved former Bristol City manager Gary Johnson’s life. Now his son is being lined up to save the Hornets from relegation.

Left-back Bryan, who now plays for Fulham, came through the Robins’ academy and in 2017 his father, Alan, was the consultant in charge of the operation as Johnson underwent triple bypass surgery.

Bryan’s manager at the time, Johnson’s son Lee, said: “He’s a top player. But don’t forget that he’s a great person and his dad’s a great person. His dad saved my dad’s life, so we’re quite close families now.”

Watford’s predicament isn’t that serious. But the Hornets’ treatment room is certainly chock full. That is why new head coach Nigel Pearson has reportedly launched a £10million raid for the 24-year-old left-back.

First-choice full-backs José Holebas and Daryl Janmaat are both ruled out with long-term injuries while centre-halves Christian Kabasele, Sebastian Prödl and Craig Cathcart have also been missing through a combination of injury and suspension.

Irrespective of their injury woes, Watford were going to have to do something at left-back this summer. Holebas will be 36 by the time his contract is up at the end of June and has finally shown signs of decline this season.

Former Bologna full-back Adam Masina was signed two summers ago to rival and eventually succeed the Greek. But the Moroccan has struggled to fully convince. He hasn’t been helped by Holebas’ remarkable fitness record, but when chances have been presented he’s struggled to grasp them.

Bryan, then, would be as much a solution for the present as the future. Pearson has pushed right-back Kiko Femenía out to the left in recent weeks with centre-half Adrian Mariappa filling in on the other side. But that is far from ideal and reinforcements must be sought.

What immediately becomes clear when watching Bryan is his similarity to Femenía. Going forward, the Bristolian defender is a threat. Defensively, his performances leave something to be desired. This is reflected in the fact he was a left-sided utility man in the early years of his career, not always nailing down a specific role in Bristol City’s side.

More recently, Bryan has made left-back his spot. He played 28 times in the Premier League for Fulham last season following a £6million switch from Ashton Gate but was unable to prevent the Cottagers making an immediate return to the Championship. That’s no slight on him, though, and Bryan was one of the few who emerged from last season’s catastrophe with any credit in the bank.

More might have been expected of the 5ft 10in defender this season, though, and he has shown defensive lapses. As an attacking full-back by his nature, he is prone to leaving space in behind though possesses a decent amount of recovery pace – enough to make up the ground against most wingers.

That said, as a one-on-one defender, he is quick, tenacious and hard to beat. In the Championship this season, Bryan has won 2.15 of the 3.15 tackles he has attempted per 90. Only two full-backs have completed more and, given Fulham average 59.6 per cent of the ball, that is an impressive ratio.

And the 24-year-old believes working under former Whites midfielder Scott Parker has benefitted the defensive side of his game.

Speaking to London News Online, Bryan said: “I think the defensive side of my game has come on a bit in the last six months under Scott Parker and I feel a lot more confident. We do a lot more analysis work in training.

“I did play at wing back before, but I’m a left-back and always seen myself as a left-back. I’m much more comfortable in that role.”

Bryan’s real strength, though, lies in his ability going forward. Always willing to bomb forward and support the attack – Bryan completes 0.81 of 1.16 attempted dribbles this season – he boasts impressive delivery and can cross comfortably from either shallow or deep positions, giving a real variety to his game.

Ranking sixth for completed crosses by full-backs in England’s second tier, Bryan connects with 0.77 per 90 and has supplied three assists. Two of those are from open-play, and only three full-backs have provided more this season.

Ultimately, assists hinge on other players finishing off the chances you create, though, and a more accurate reflection of his creativity comes in the fact no Championship full-back can better the six Big Chances he’s carved out this season, a rate of 0.25 per 90.

His 81.8 touches per 90 speak of a player who is heavily involved despite nominally being a defender, while his 0.99 shots only serve to underline his attacking intent. A decent set-piece taker to boot, it’s easy to see why Bryan catches the eye in attacking situations.

Since taking over as Hornets head coach on December 6, Pearson has collected ten points from five Premier League games. Only Manchester City and Liverpool have picked up more points than Watford in that time – proof it’s minor rather than major surgery required in January. Time will tell whether Bryan can extend the Hornets’ top-flight stay.

Online whitejc

  • Administrator
  • Mornington Crescent
  • *
  • Posts: 62039
  • I'm tall for my height
Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 13/01/20...
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2020, 12:56:33 PM »
Scott Parker confirms significant Fulham blow

Fulham manager Scott Parker has stated that Aleksander Mitrovic’s injury looks like a bad one, after the 1-0 win over Hull City at the weekend.

The Serbian striker picked up the injury with just ten minutes remaining as he went down holding his ankle. He had to be stretchered off which shows the severity of the injury in what could be a massive knock to Fulham’s promotion hopes.

It marred a 1-0 away win for Parker’s side, as they beat Hull City thanks to a solitary finish from winger Ivan Cavaleiro.

The Cottagers sit fourth in the table, and may well need to regroup and have a look at any potential loan signings in the transfer window if Mitrovic’s injury is as serious as it looks.

Parker has expressed that it isn’t great, and if we lose someone like him then it won’t be easy for the side.

Speaking to West London Sport, Parker said: “It doesn’t look great at this present moment in time.

“It’s too early to say. We’ll scan him and see where we are, but he’s injured himself pretty badly.

“Lose someone who’s scored 18 goals and it’s never going to be easy.”

The Verdict

Mitrovic has been simply sensational so far this season and has been a quite brilliant striker in this league, with many thinking he’s too good to be playing in this division. It’s a massive blow, and if serious then it does affect Fulham’s chances of promotion.

They’d need to bring in a loan signing from the Premier League otherwise, eventually, they’d seriously start to miss the Serbian’s goals and would lose out on crucial points.

There’s still a long way of the season to go and with Leeds and West Brom both stuttering at the top, there’s still an opportunity for the top two. This looks as though it’d only be likely if Mitrovic was in the side.

Online whitejc

  • Administrator
  • Mornington Crescent
  • *
  • Posts: 62039
  • I'm tall for my height
Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 13/01/20...
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2020, 03:04:04 PM »
In Numbers: Hull City 0-1 Fulham

We break down the statistics from Saturday’s frustrating home defeat at the hands of Fulham.

The Tigers had the chance to move above the visitors in the league table had they taken all three points but Ivan Cavaleiro’s first-half strike saw the visitors claim a 1-0 win in front of 11,347 fans at the KCOM Stadium.

Goals: 0
Shots: 9
On Target: 1
Shots Inside Box: 6
Shots Outside Box: 3
Blocked Shots: 4

Total Passes: 370
Pass Success Rate: 67%
Successful Dribbles: 7/11
Possession: 42%

Tackles: 15
Interceptions: 12
Clearances: 12
Duels Won: 49
Aerial Duels Won: 19

Fouls Committed: 12
Yellow Cards: 1
Red Cards: 0

MAN OF THE MATCH: Matthew Pennington
Minutes Played: 90
Touches: 80
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 4
Clearances: 4
Blocked Shots: 2
Duels Won: 7/11
Passes: 45
Pass Success Rate: 73.2%

Most Passes: Leo Da Silva Lopes (56)
High Pass Accuracy: Jarrod Bowen (76.5%)
Most Touches: Matthew Pennington (80)

Most Tackles: Matthew Pennington, Eric Lichaj, Leo Da Silva Lopes & Jackson Irvine (3)
Most Interceptions: Matthew Pennington (4)
Most Clearances: Matthew Pennington (4)

Most Shots: Tom Eaves (3)
Most Shots On Target: Tom Eaves & Jarrod Bowen (1)
Most Key Passes: Jordy de Wijs & Tom Eaves (2)
Most Dribbles: Leo Da Silva Lopes & Kamil Grosicki (2)

Online whitejc

  • Administrator
  • Mornington Crescent
  • *
  • Posts: 62039
  • I'm tall for my height
Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 13/01/20...
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2020, 11:12:04 PM »
Five Thoughts: Hull City 0-1 Fulham

Can’t really disregard the victory but that was dire. Winning ugly doesn’t always make for great articles or overviews, so please bear with me through this. Fulham’s travelling faithful began Saturday with a cautionary optimism, knowing that Hull City are a perilously unpredictable outfit, being both devastating and vulnerable, all at the same time. Sounds an awful lot like us, right?

Tanked on Waitrose own G&Ts, Fosters and the odd plastic cup of bubbly, the “Putney wannabe rowing boys”, as that shabby-haired Villa prat so aptly put it, set off to Humberside to spur on Scott Parker’s men the best they could. Win, draw or lose, the lengthy trip up to Hull on a bleak, dreary Saturday afternoon was seemingly worth it all the while.

Spectating from my desk at work, courtesy of a ropy stream, I was genuinely struggling for valid points to dissect but I’ve fleshed it out the best I could. Farrell Monk cracked open a bottle or two on the way back, Jack Kelly pondered a post-match curry and I disturbed sales pitches as Cav’ arced home from a customary angle. “Mauled by the Fulham.” What a bunch of marvellous tossers we are!

Scrappy, Scruffy Satisfaction
The KCOM Stadium is also home to Rugby League outfit Hull Kingston Rovers and Saturday’s encounter harboured a similar narrative to a scrappy, scruffy spot of egg chasing. Both set-ups touched gloves and tried to pin each other down but neither contingent could sustain a significant amount of pressure. Possession would lead to very little fruition and the ball would be turned over consistently, staggering the narrative and stemming the flow of the game. Hull and Fulham advanced freely, trading counter attacks frequently, but their respective strangleholds were ultimately limp and futile. I hate myself a great deal for using common rugby terminology. Terrifying to think that the next step is literally slurping a pint of my teammate’s piss, so I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

The disjointed complexion enabled both sides to charge at one another with expedience but the final product wandered astray. Advantageous opportunities were few and far between. The hosts registered 9 shots in total compared to Fulham’s 4, with neither ‘keeper being regularly tested. The first explicit chance of the match took 22 minutes to arrive but Kamil Grosicki skewed his strike wide of Marek Rodak’s right-hand post. Jarrod Bowen aspired to construct, but he couldn’t connect with Tom Eaves up top, Anthony Knockaert aimed to harass Eric Lichaj, but the Frenchman was censored by the watchful American. Both collectives talked of a box-office showdown but it was definitely a game for empty threats.

Personal duels erupted under the frustration of falling short of the mark in certain aspects. Denis Odoi’s vendetta with Josh Bowler sharpened proceedings in the closing stages. The Everton loanee – who was only involved for 12 minutes or so – failed to get the better of the versatile Belgian and both men, whenever they came into close proximity, leaving a little cynical spice in their ill-timed challenges. Remarkably, neither were cautioned, unlike Cyrus Christie, Kevin McDonald, Ivan Cavaleiro and Aleksandar Mitrovic, who were all jotted down in Matt Donohue’s notepad. No game’s complete without altercations, tit for tat, but that’s seemingly all this particular Championship confrontation had to offer. Pulled from the travelled book of footballing cliches, those are the points that pay dividends come the end of the season, so we’ll graciously accept the victory at the expense of a squeaky clean performance. 7 points off Leeds United, I’ll have a bit of that.

Cav’s Copyright Crackers
Signing a 4-and-a-half year deal midweek, Cavaleiro proved his worth (an estimated £15m) with a glittering performance against the Tigers. Applying himself to the challenge in blustery conditions, the Portuguese winger implanted a tireless ethic into the Whites’ offensive phases, pestering Matthew Pennington and biting back in retreat. All it takes is one spark of genius, a single shimmer of brilliance to ignite a game as dull as the one on Humberside, and the 26-year-old conjured up another certified banger in the 29th minute. I’m not quite sure he knows how to score simple tap ins. He only bags worldies.

Cav’s copyright crackers. A carbon copy of his goal against Huddersfield Town, the former Wolverhampton Wanderers attacker only needed a brief second to shift the ball out of his feet to dispatch the winner and surely, for all that we know about the sport, there simply isn’t a better way to find the back of the net. Those impulsive flashes aren’t actually seen often enough though. He’s easily the best left winger in the division for me when he’s working his magic and, whilst he likes to dip inside, he sometimes wastes prime opportunities to pull the trigger.

We’ve plenty of potent weapons to choose from and Cav’ is an undisputed starter. Knockaert’s spot in the starting XI is still up for grabs but Cav’, he’s obviously intended to be a pivotal first-team cog with his new permanent deal. For 86 minutes, the explosive flanker tackled his duties without hesitation, unifying gritty elements with the intricate. It may not always work out for him, but he always pulls his weight and, since the season’s progressed, his defensive acumen has also evolved from haphazard to decisive. Impressed by his overall work-rate and determination on the day, Cav’ distanced himself from a humdrum, ordinary outing with a lung-busting, net bulging performance that is certainly commonplace.

Scotsman Steadies System
Named in Parker’s starting fold against Aston Villa in last week’s FA Cup triumph, Kevin McDonald retained his place in the Whites’ matchday selection in the North East. Even when KMac isn’t even involved, his name cascades from the terraces, alongside his supposedly ostentatious member, so to witness him stampeding across the turf against Hull was an unbridled joy to behold, and I sincerely hope it’s not just a passing visit to first-team action for him, too.

Fulham required a trusted physical presence in the centre to split and disrupt Hull’s diverse midfield department. Stefan Johansen is an irritant, but isn’t conserved enough to anchor alone. Harry Arter’s an agitator but certainly isn’t disciplined enough to competently protect the engine room. McDonald, naturally, doesn’t cover as much ground as the two aforementioned, but he instinctively adopts a preservative disposition that’s proven at this level. He’s a Trojan horse of an enforcer, a deceptive purveyor of safety and bravery and his understanding of how to thrive in a highly competitive department credits our forward-thinking system. He doesn’t take a back seat, per say, he just observes and administrates operations on his own accord.

Stabilising between the back four and the midfield, he’s the only real old-school authoritarian we have that’s genuinely attuned to the Championship’s tough, rigorous expectations. KMac isn’t a gifted distributor and, occasionally, he made a hash of simple passes and interchanges in a congested midfield, but he’s a stickler for hard graft and effort in every given step, so the 31-year-old’s preventive aptitude was crucial to our game plan against the Tigers. Joshua Onomah and Bobby Decordva-Reid bombed on in search of an opening, whilst big Kev’ deployed the parachutes with his dogmatic, resolute code of conduct, which withstood the duration of the gruelling, muddled engagement in Kingston-upon-Hull.

Digging Deep Determinedly
In a game with very limited opportunities for both clubs, Fulham still had to dig deep to deny the hosts from levelling. They fought they had done with virtually the last kick of the game, but Fulham hung on in their to register a victory and a clean sheet away from home, which is a huge positive in my estimation. Tim Ream and Michael Hector partnered the heart of our back four perfectly, contesting headers with Eaves to offset their lofted approach. A collective togetherness enabled us to emerge from unkempt proceedings with the spoils, but I thought the evergreen American and the towering Jamaican etched their dominance upon proceedings masterfully. Definitely my preferred centre-half duo for the remainder of the campaign.

Hull City are recognised as one of the Championship’s deadliest counter attacking sides and if the Whites weren’t aware, they’d have their arses spanked in public, like they did at the Cottage on November. Grosicki and Bowen glide along the flanks with complete ease but Cyrus Christie locked onto the Poland international and Odoi grappled endlessly with Hull’s talismanic winger on the opposite side, constricting the time and space they had to manoeuvre. From the front, Cav’, Knockaert and Aleksandar Mitrovic penned Hull back in their own penalty area, forcing George Long to leather the ball aimlessly out of impending danger. Neither club could establish a sturdy foothold central positions, but the combative disposition illustrated by Parker’s men was enough to unsettle Hull and unmask their impractical indecision in menacing areas.

A Late chance for Hull was a nerve jangler but a mixture of Marek Rodak’s reflexes and Alfie Mawson’s vigilance rejected Eaves’ driven effort to ensure the victory. The Tigers waged war on Fulham’s 18-yard box towards the final whistle but Fulham, much like they were against Stoke City at home a few weeks back, demonstrated a stubbornness that’s a vital requirement in the Championship. It’s a cruel, unforgiving environment for the weak and unprepared, so the manner in which the Whites guarded their honour was wholly pleasing and palatable. Rising to the challenge, Fulham claimed their first win in Hull since a 3-0 whitewash back in October 1996.

Aleksandar’s Ankle Anguish
After a much needed rest last week, Mitrovic was back in the frame but couldn’t add to his chart-topping 18-goal haul. Other than a rushed half-volley from 25-yards out in the 68th minute, the lethal Serb didn’t impact the game in his usual demonstrative mien, although in truth, Hull’s centre-half pairing of Reece Burke and Jordy de Wijs made sure that his imprint was restricted. Attempting to control the final third, Mitro’ was snared by the Tigers’ central defenders and was regularly outnumbered. The 25-year-old bustled and hassled, but he simply couldn’t evade the hosts’ meticulous surveillance and pincer tactics.

Mitro’ was fairly isolated upon the vast pitch at the KCOM and he couldn’t fashion clear-cut opportunities. Snap shots were his best option but he never stopped chasing Hull’s rearguard. Forming a triple alliance with Cav’ and Knockaert – and latterly Harry Arter – Mitro’ and his restless teammates pressed and probed Hull’s hurried rearguard, thrusting them into a state of relative panic as they searched for a viable outlet. Mitro’ is a solid competitor and we often forget he’s human, opposed to The Terminator, but with just ten minutes of normal time left to navigate, the hardened hitman’s afternoon was brought to an abrupt end, much to our numbing horror and concern for his well being. Mitro’ lay slain on the deck in the 80th minute following a collision with Lichaj and appeared to be in a great deal of discomfort as he clutched his busted ankle.

Stretchered off, with Joe Bryan being his replacement, the severity of Mitro’s injury was unknown but it’s become apparent that it’s a pretty nasty knock to say the least. A suspected twisted ankle may sideline the strapping striker for a number of weeks, extremely bad news when considering he’s the defining difference between the club being prosperous and mediocre. Delve into the transfer window and bring in Glenn Murray. We’ve always been light on out and out striking options and, as much as we rave about Jay Stansfield in particular, he is nowhere near ready to lead our front line for the foreseeable. Some may say Aboubakar Kamara could fill the void, but he’s much more effective out wide. At least there, along the touchline, he has a thick white guideline to use as a spacial marker, otherwise the Frenchman’s positioning is null and void. Time to act, Tony Khan and co.

Online whitejc

  • Administrator
  • Mornington Crescent
  • *
  • Posts: 62039
  • I'm tall for my height
Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 13/01/20...
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2020, 11:12:49 PM »
February Home Fixtures On Sale

Tickets for three of our February fixtures at Craven Cottage against Barnsley, Swansea City and Preston North End will go on sale on Monday 13th January.

Fulham take on Barnsley on Saturday 15th February (kick-off 3pm) before welcoming Swansea City to the Cottage for a mid-week clash on Wednesday 26th February (kick-off 7.45pm). Fulham close out a hectic month with Preston North End making the trip to West London on Saturday 29th February (kick-off 3pm).

19/20 Members will be able to purchase tickets for all three fixtures at 10am on Monday 13th January. Tickets will then go on sale to 2019/20 Season Ticket Holders at 10am on Wednesday 15th January, with any remaining tickets going on General Sale at 10am on Friday 17th January.

Supporters are able to purchase a maximum of six tickets per person for these matches, and can secure their seats online, by phone on 0203 871 0810 (opt. 1) or in person from the Fulham Ticket Office.

Supporters are reminded that the Putney End blocks P1, P2, P3, P4 are designated home seating areas. Away supporters identified in home areas at Craven Cottage will be ejected.

Online whitejc

  • Administrator
  • Mornington Crescent
  • *
  • Posts: 62039
  • I'm tall for my height
Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 13/01/20...
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2020, 11:14:50 PM »
Tottenham Hotspur target Aleksandar Mitrovic has received glowing endorsements

According to a new exclusive report from 90min, Tottenham Hotspur are planning to revive their interest in Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic.

A big reason for their interest concerns Harry Kane’s recent injury, which could leave Jose Mourinho without a prolific goalscorer up front.

After receiving the setback against Middlesbrough last weekend, Mourinho suggested the injury is “not small”. The England international now looks set for a spell on the sideline.

And with that in mind, the Special One could indeed turn to the Championship talisman in January already.

Of course, as 90min explain, Fulham don’t want to lose their talisman with promotion firmly in their sights, but it remains to be seen whether they can fend off Spurs’ advances.

Either way, Mitrovic could be a valuable addition to the club and to prove that we sought the opinions of those who know him best.

Here’s what they had to say…

Slavisa Jokanovic, former Fulham coach

Jokanovic was in charge back when Mitrovic was just starting his adventure with Fulham as a loanee, and i didn’t take long for the former gaffer to be completely taken aback by the now 25-year-old’s ability.

He even called him a sensation and hailed his skill off the ball.

Here’s what he said, as quoted by ChronicleLive:

    “He’s a sensation – he’s already doing tricks. He didn’t score but his movement for the first goal was fantastic and he created the space for Sessegnon to finish with the goal.

    “He showed quality, power and did a great job for us – holding up the ball very well and having a positive impact on the game.”

Claudio Rainieri, former Fulham coach

Another former gaffer who was quickly impressed by Mitrovic is Rainieri.

In fact, the Serbian was showered with praise by his coach after his incredible display that helped Rainieri secure victory over Southampton in his first game in charge.

It would go on to be first of many.

Here’s what he said to Sky Sports following that triumph:

    “For me, Mitrovic is one of the best strikers in Europe. When I say Europe, let’s say the world.

    “He’s only 24 years old, he’s a fantastic player. It’s important to give the ball to him because he can play as a platform but also as a goalscorer.

    “When the ball arrives in the box he’s very, very close to the goal. It’s important to give him a lot of chances to score.”

Scott Parker, current Fulham manager

Apart from former coaches praising Mitrovic, the current one is equally in awe of his striker, highlighting the immense quality he possesses.

He went as far as saying that the Serbian forward would convert a chance nine times out of ten.

Here’s what he said after Mitrovic’s hat-trick that led Fulham to a 3-2 victory over Luton, as quoted by FourFourTwo:

    “We all realise the quality Mitro has. In this division he scores goals but I think he would be the first to say that it’s the supporting act around him as well.

    “The way we play Mitro is on the end of it to finish it off and nine times out of 10 if you get the ball in the right place it goes in the back of the net.”

Mitrovic could be a fantastic option for Spurs to chase and any deal could provide them with the boost they need to finish inside the top four.

Of course, it will be interesting to see whether Mourinho can actually snatch him away from Fulham or not.

Online whitejc

  • Administrator
  • Mornington Crescent
  • *
  • Posts: 62039
  • I'm tall for my height
Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 13/01/20...
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2020, 08:04:54 AM »
Who is new USMNT GM Brian McBride? A quick primer

For MLS and US men’s national team fans of a certain age, Brian McBride is a living legend, an icon of the game’s modern era on this continent.

It’s now been nearly a decade since the rugged striker played his last competitive match, however. So with the collective memory of his exploits on the pitch rapidly fading, it’s worth sharing a quick overview as he takes up the USMNT’s new general manager post.

Born on the cusp

McBride came of age in the dark days between the death of the old NASL and MLS’s birth, so he continued his career at the top option otherwise available in the United States at that time: St. Louis University, at the heart of one of American soccer’s oldest hotbeds.

The Billikens were an NCAA power, and McBride showed his quality by setting program records for goals (72), assists (40) and points (184), then continued scoring by the bucketload in a brief stint with lower-division club Milwaukee Rampage.

That’s around when German side VfL Wolfsburg came calling, offering him a spot among the contingent of American players at the club at that time. Though the experience no doubt helped prepare him for what was to come, it was on the whole a difficult one. McBride suffered a long scoring drought as he labored to come to grips with the demands of the professional game in a foreign land.

An MLS pioneer

The new league starting up back home – a legacy of the 1994 World Cup – offered him a fresh start, and McBride was the consensus No. 1 pick of the 1996 Inaugural Draft, the enormous (and unprecedented) exercise that built out the first 10 MLS rosters. The Columbus Crew, by rights the league’s first official member club, picked him.

Dubbed “McHead” for his dominating aerial ability, the Chicagoland native was a complete No. 9 who also showed dedication and class both on the field and off. He netted 62 goals and 45 assists in 161 league games over his eight seasons in Columbus, earning eight MLS All-Star nods and a spot in the MLS All-Time Best XI named as part of the league's 10th anniversary in 2005.

A Yank in London

English clubs had taken notice of McBride’s mentality and skillset, perfect for their bruising, hectic style of play, and his cachet grew via productive loan stints at Preston North End and Everton. It took Fulham FC a reported $1.5 million transfer fee to convince MLS and the Crew to part with him in 2004 – no small potatoes in a time when outbound sales of such amounts were rare.

The big man won the hearts of Cottagers supporters as they battled for survival in the Premier League, leading the team in scoring in ‘06-07 and finishing with 33 goals over four and a half years at Craven Cottage. He also called his countryman Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey teammates during a time in which FFC were dubbed “Fulhamerica.”

Perhaps the most enduring symbol of his Fulham love affair: The pub inside Craven Cottage is named “McBride’s” in his honor.

USMNT greatness

As he rose in the pro game, McBride quickly became a core member of the USMNT pool, earning a place on the 1998 and 2002 World Cup squads and scoring in both tournaments, the latter still the best performance the US have ever produced in the event.

McBride netted in the stunning upset of Portugal in the group-stage opener in Korea, then banged home the epic opener in the dos-a-cero defeat of Mexico in the round of 16. Even when Bruce Arena & Co. failed to reproduce that magic at Germany 2006, McBride provided the most enduring image of the tournament, stolidly shrugging off an elbow from Italy’s Daniele De Rossi that left blood streaming down his face.

He retired from international play after the USMNT went three and out. He was later convinced, though, to return for one last cameo as an overage player and captain on the 2008 Beijing Olympics squad that battled impressively, but ultimately missed advancing by the skin of their teeth in a “group of death” alongside Japan, the Netherlands and Nigeria – and the US haven’t qualified for that event since.

Homeward bound

McBride also bid farewell to England in the summer of 2008, returning to MLS for a final two-and-a-half season stint with his hometown club, the Chicago Fire. He continued scoring at a steady clip, bagging 18 goals and seven assists over 59 appearances, helping the Men in Red mount playoff runs in his first two campaigns.

McBride moved into the corporate world after his 2010 retirement. But he always kept a foot in the beautiful game, working as a part-time pundit for ESPN and, doing appearances for U.S. Soccer and founding his own youth academy. And now he’ll work alongside former teammates Gregg Berhalter and Earnie Stewart to steer the USMNT forward.