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MacDonald in, Puppo out as Fire shake up DP slots

Sherjill MacDonald, Chicago Fire

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire made a huge swap of Designated Players on Tuesday, all with the intent of finally getting their sputtering offense back in gear.

The club announced that it has signed Dutch striker Sherjill MacDonald and loaned forward Federico Puppo to Uruguayan club Defensor Sporting Club after scoring just two goals in their past five games.

“I saw the game [against Aston Villa] on Saturday, and if you see the pitch and the stadium and everything, it’s not difficult to get excited,” MacDonald (above) said after his first training session as a member of the team on Tuesday. “With my type of game style, I hope to create more chances and score more goals.”

The Fire acquired the 27-year-old from Beerschot AC in the Belgian Pro League, the top flight in Belgium, where he scored 15 goals in three seasons. He grew up playing in the Ajax youth system, and the Fire will be his ninth team in his 10-year career.

Sherjill McDonald Reaction

“Technically, he’s very sound,” head coach Frank Klopas said. “He comes from a good school at Ajax … and the Dutch always have that technical ability. Technically, he’s a very good player. He’s got pace, he can hold the ball on top, shoots with either foot. He’s very smart with his movement in the box and in the game as far as creating space for himself or others.”

MacDonald hopes to be ready to play in the Fire’s next home game against Toronto FC on Aug. 4, and didn’t rule out contributing a few minutes on Saturday when the Fire play in San Jose.

The Fire’s offensive struggles started when Sebastián Grazzini left the team in early July to attend to personal issues in his home country of Argentina. Since Grazzini’s departure, the Fire have scored just twice in five games while battling to stay in the playoff race.

But MacDonald likes what he sees from the Fire defensively.

“I think they also keep the zero very good, and that’s important,” MacDonald said. “If I can come in and help the team score more goals, I think we’ll have a good team.”

MacDonald said he signed two-and-a-half weeks ago, shortly after trialing with the club, but he was forced to head home to Belgium, where he worked with a personal trainer for two weeks while he waited for his visa.

Puppo, meanwhile, failed to register a goal in 11 league games played since signing with the club in January.

“This loan is an opportunity to provide Federico with more consistent playing time,” Klopas said. “Defensor is a top team in Uruguay, having won the 2012 Clausura. We look forward to keeping a close eye on his progress while he is playing in Montevideo.”