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Monday, June 19, 2006

McBride changes the tone

(Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Brian McBride (20) battles for the ball with Italy's
Gennaro Gattuso during their Group E World Cup
2006 soccer match in Kaiserslautern June 17, 2006.

Determined McBride Galvanized U.S. Team

Published: June 19, 2006

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany, June 18 — When forward Brian McBride went to the sideline on Saturday, having taken a vicious elbow in the face, the blood covering his nose and left cheek were worrisome but familiar.
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"I've seen it many times," United States Manager Bruce Arena told reporters Sunday after the Americans returned to their World Cup base in Hamburg. "It didn't surprise me. I did think there was a chance he had to come out. You never know if there's some kind of facial injury."

McBride has needed a number of operations to repair broken bones in his nose and face. It is an occupational hazard for a forward in soccer. He eventually received three stitches below his left eye, but played all 90-plus minutes in a bruising and ultimately satisfying 1-1 tie against Italy.

The United States can reach the second round if it defeats Ghana on Thursday and Italy defeats the Czech Republic.

McBride ran ceaselessly during Saturday's match, in which three players received red-card ejections and the United States forged a draw despite having only nine players available for the final 43 minutes. By the final whistle, McBride's head and feet had been involved in two of the game's determining and controversial plays.

Sunday, the debate continued about the decisions made by Referee Jorge Larrionda of Uruguay. Arena offered a fairly even-handed assessment, saying he believed that FIFA, soccer's world governing body, probably considered that Larrionda had done "a good job."

At the same time, Arena said he believed that World Cup referees had punished some fouls with excessive harshness and inconsistency.

While Gyan sits, McBride will be looking to score in his third World Cup. No broken bones were reported from the elbowing. In fact, McBride said he did not even feel much pain. After repeated operations — including plastic surgery — to repair shattered cheekbones, McBride said: "I don't have a lot of feeling in my face. My nerves are all dead from the surgeries. You get hit and you get back up."

posted by Steve @ 11:20:00 PM

11:20:00 PM

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