In two matches over the Yuletide period, the Fulham target man reeled in three goals in splendid fashion. First he hauled Fulham out of a 2-0 hole against mighty Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, scoring once and winning the penalty from which Heidar Helguson equalized before the Blues’ Hernan Crespo nicked it. Then two days later, McBride notched a brace in a thrilling 3-3 tie with Aston Villa.
American fans should hope that McBride maintains his rich scoring form into early summer when Team USA attempts to claw its way out of the Lion’s den that is Group E. They were drawn against the Czech Republic, Ghana and Italy.
The leading scorer in Bruce Arena’s current squad, McBride, with 90 caps and 29 international goals has the experience, instincts and, most importantly, the aerial strength to pose a threat to even Italy’s famously miserly defense.
First capped in 1993, McBride is headed for his third World Cup. He scored the United States’ only goal at France ’98, a 2-1 loss to Iran, and struck twice in the Americans’ improbable run to the quarterfinals in Japan/Korea four years ago.
The native of Arlington Heights, Ill., and a former Saint Louis University standout, McBride came to Fulham from Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Columbus Crew in January 2004.
Earlier, McBride had loan stints with Everton in 2003, netting four goals in eight appearances, and Preston North End in 2000.
His first taste of European club football, though, had come in 1994-1995 when he spent a season with VfL Wolfsburg, then in the German second division.
Set to celebrate his 34th birthday two days after the U.S.’ Group E clash with Italy in Kaiserslautern on June 17, McBride is a player with an increasingly lethal touch in front of goal as he ages.
While the focus in the American squad going into the World Cup may be on the much younger and faster attacking duo of DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan, it’s the veteran McBride whose goals may ultimately decide how long Uncle Sam’s Army camps out in Germany.
Can’t get a World Cup ticket? No problem. Just head for the Beatles’ old stomping ground, Hamburg.
For the duration of the finals from June 9 to July 9, the lively German port city will host a huge party from midday until midnight in the Heiligengeistfeld district not far from the famous mile-long Reeperbahn red-light district.
The “Fan Fest” will give up to 50,000 fans the opportunity to watch matches on a massive 263 square foot screen that organizers promise will be almost like being at the game itself. A stage below the screen will host a range of events, including celebrity interviews and cultural activities when no live games are being shown.
“We want to give fans who haven’t been lucky enough to get tickets the same feeling as if they were in the stadium. We hope that they have a great experience which leaves them with lasting memories of the city and the tournament in general,” said Harald Bottcher, managing director of the agency behind the party.