Keller, Sounders FC will face high-scoring Brian McBride
Saturday's Seattle-Chicago MLS game reunites a pair of old friends, Kasey Keller and Brian McBride, who have played together in England and for the U.S. national team.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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TUKWILA — The soccer careers of Brian McBride and Kasey Keller mirror each other.
McBride, 36, and Keller, 39, were U.S. men's national-team teammates for years, and roommates on road trips for 10 years. McBride and Keller were teammates for one season, 2007-08, at Fulham in the English Premier League. And McBride, like Keller, came back from Europe to play in Major League Soccer because he wanted to finish his playing career near his hometown.
McBride and Keller joined their MLS teams within days of each other last August, Keller signing as a free agent with Sounders FC and McBride, a Chicago-area native, arriving in the Windy City via a trade of his allocation rights.
The good friends will go head-to-head for the first time in MLS action Saturday night at Toyota Park in suburban Chicago when Sounders FC (4-2) plays the Fire (2-0-4). McBride, a forward, enters the match as the MLS player of the month for April after scoring four goals in four games. Keller comes in as the league's hottest goalkeeper with a scoreless streak of 389 minutes.
"A man that I have a lot of respect for, both as a person and as a player," Keller said of McBride. "He's very, very good in the air. Always dangerous on set pieces. Scored an unbelievable goal the other day. Just a very good quality center-forward and one the league is very fortunate to have back."
McBride, like Keller, spurned offers to play for more money in Europe. He has developed a nice-guy reputation around MLS for his demeanor and off-field charity work.
On the field, McBride remains a scoring threat after 15 seasons of pro soccer. He has the distinction of being the first overall draft pick in MLS history (1996 by the Columbus Crew) and spent eight seasons with the Crew. He scored 62 goals for Columbus and is tied for the club's record in goals. He twice was Fulham's player of the year, and was the MVP of the 2002 Gold Cup, a three-time World Cup participant and captain of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.
"When you're facing a good center-forward, the most important thing is to cut off service [a pass to a forward] because you can't score goals without service," Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said. "He's obviously a very good target in the air. ... So we want to make sure we battle him and we're aware of where he is in the box."
Keller had a few more things to say about McBride.
"Great team player, great pro and a guy that I'd love to have here," Keller said.
• Sounders FC midfielder Freddie Ljungberg was scheduled to return to Seattle and go through an individual training session Thursday after leaving the team the past few days to attend memorial services for his grandmother in Sweden.
• Chicago played a friendly against Club America of Mexico on Wednesday and lost 2-1 at Toyota Park.
• Seattle midfielder Stephen King played for the Fire during his MLS rookie season of 2008.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 8:54 PM
Sounders lose to another expansion team
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.