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Japan FA backs Halilhodzic

AFC World Cup qualifiers
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By ESPN Staff

Fire captain Armas retires after 12 years in MLS

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Chicago Fire captain Chris Armas retired Tuesday following a 12-year career in Major League Soccer, including the last 10 years in Chicago.

The 35-year-old midfielder played in 264 regular-season MLS games and had two goals in 66 appearances with the U.S. national team. His career repeatedly was derailed by knee injuries.

"When you think of the Chicago Fire, you think of Chris Armas," Fire president John Guppy said. "When you think of Chris Armas, you think of the Chicago Fire. Chris has helped create the values that the Chicago Fire stands for."

Armas missed the Sydney Olympics after spraining his left knee in August 2000, blew out his right knee in 2002 just 11 days before he was to leave with the U.S. team for the World Cup and tore a ligament in his left knee in October 2005, keeping him from competing for the 2006 World Cup roster.

Armas played for the Los Angeles Galaxy from 1996-97 before moving to Chicago.

"I always felt this would be my last season," Armas said. "I felt my best during the last third of the season. I always knew in the back of my mind this was it. I never really wavered. I just didn't want to admit it."

Armas led Chicago to the 1998 MLS title and U.S. Open Cup championships in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006. He had 12 goals and 48 assists during the regular season in his career and four goals and four assists during 37 playoff games.