Brian McBride's Olympic experience didn't go as well as the long-time U.S. international hoped after the United States crashed out in the group stage. But the early exit means the former Fulham striker can return to the States and join his new side, the Chicago Fire.

McBride and the rest of the American players left China on Thursday morning, spreading out to their various clubs. The Chicago media office claimed that McBride would be back in time for training on Friday, but there was no confirmation if he will be physically or mentally ready to play on Saturday, when the Fire take on D.C. United in a massive Eastern Conference clash at Toyota Park.

"He is coming back right away, so that tells you something," Fire head coach Denis Hamlett said on the team's Web site on Wednesday.

Even without McBride, Chicago has proven formidible lately. Led by Cuauhtemoc Blanco, the Fire scored two late goals against East leaders New England last weekend to get three unexpected points on the road and now sit just a point behind the Revolution.

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