FIRE TO PLAYOFFS: Blanco's going to the playoffs. Beckham's not.

John Thorrington scored in extra time Sunday and the Chicago Fire beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 to earn the MSL's eighth and final playoff spot.

In a meeting of the league's two marquee designated players, Cuauhtemoc Blanco of the Fire and David Beckham of the Galaxy, it was a goal by Thorrington — a late substitution — that decided the outcome before a Toyota Park-record soccer crowd of 21,734.

Thorrington, waived by the Fire in March and re-signed Sept. 14, got open in the middle against goalkeeper Joe Cannon and then just popped the ball over his head and into the net when Cannon came out to stop him.

Sidelined by injuries most of his first season with the Galaxy, Beckham came off the bench for a second straight game, entering in the 58th minute to a loud and mixed reception of cheers and boos.

Beckham had a shot from the top of the box in 77th minute, but it sailed over the goal to a chorus of boos. He also had a free kick in the 90th minute but the ball was headed away.


FEDERER FALLS: Top-ranked Roger Federer made 38 unforced errors in losing to David Nalbandian 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the Madrid Masters final Sunday.

The 25th-ranked Argentine moved Federer around the court with a variety of groundstrokes. The title was Nalbandian's first since winning the Estoril Open in May 2006.

Nalbandian, who beat No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 3 Novak Djokovic to reach the final, broke Federer three times and became the second player this year to beat the top three players en route to winning a title. Djokovic also did it, 13 years after Boris Becker had last done it.

"It's very important at this moment, a great way to finish the season and to go into the next one," Nalbandian said. "To beat such great players as I did this week makes it important."

Federer fell to 6-4 in finals this season. He was playing in his first tournament since winning his fourth straight U.S. Open six weeks ago.


MCGEE DIES: Max McGee, the free-spirited Green Bay Packers receiver who became part of Super Bowl lore after a night on the town, died when he fell while clearing leaves from the roof of his home. He was 75.

Police were called to his home in suburban Deephaven on Saturday afternoon, Sgt. Chris Whiteside said. Efforts to resuscitate failed.

"I just lost my best friend," former teammate Paul Hornung told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "(His wife) Denise was away from the house. She'd warned him not to get up there. He shouldn't have been up there. He knew better than that."

McGee caught the first touchdown pass in Super Bowl history in 1967, a game he expected to watch from the sideline. When it was over, he had caught seven passes for 138 yards and two TDs, and Green Bay — coached by the great Vince Lombardi — had beaten the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

Formula 1

ICEMAN COMETH: Kimi Raikkonen is known as "The Iceman," and he more than kept his cool Sunday. He won the Brazilian Grand Prix and captured the Formula One title in the tightest race for the championship in 21 years.

The Ferrari driver rallied from third place in the points standings for his first F1 crown, taking advantage of Lewis Hamilton's mistake on the first lap and Fernando Alonso's disappointing run.