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No storybook ending for Carlos Bocanegra's playing career

As much as it would be nice to see him play one more time, it's not going to happen.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Bocanegra was listed on Chivas USA's injury report for the season finale against the San Jose Earthquakes. That's not necessarily a surprise in itself — Bocanegra has been on the injury report since late-July ,and he's already announced his retirement, effective at the end of the season.

Still, it's pretty unfortunate to learn that Captain America won't get to lace up his boots and have a proper send-off to finish his career with the Goats. In a season that represents a turning point of sorts for MLS and American soccer, several players announced their retirement midseason, sending waves through the league.

In the case of LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan and one-club veteran Logan Pause of the Chicago Fire, they announced their retirement and get to play out the string, to come off the field during or directly after a competitive game, hear the adulation from the crowd at the stadium.

Unfortunately for Bocanegra and his 2010 World Cup defensive partner Jay DeMerit, injuries meant they won't get to suit up one last time. DeMerit moved on as soon as he announced his retirement, but with Bocanegra, there was still a kernel of belief he could get on the field at least once more.

But it looks like it's not meant to be. Don't get me wrong, if Bocanegra's post-concussion symptoms haven't yet subsided, if he hasn't been cleared to play, there's no reason to bring him on and risk his health, even if for sentimental reasons. He's got the rest of his life to live, and playing one game isn't literally a matter of life and death.

Still, I wish he got to pull on the jersey once more, to maybe come off the bench for the final few minutes, just to step off the field on his own terms. It's not in the cards, and that's a shame for everyone.

But sometimes, that's how life works.

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