New DP MacDonald a quick study up top for Chicago
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The soreness still lingered for Chicago Fire forward Sherjill MacDonald in the days after his first start of the season on Sunday, reminding the newly acquired Dutch striker that he still has a ways to go to return to full fitness.
But his three weeks in the Windy City have been productive. The Fire have taken seven points from their last three, and MacDonald contributed an assist in the 3-1 victory over Philly this past weekend.
Nonetheless he was disappointed he didn’t convert multiple scoring chances, including a breakaway in the 60th minute.
GOAL: MacDonald tees up Rolfe
“I feel like I’m not that sharp yet,” MacDonald told MLSsoccer.com. “I missed a few big chances, and for me that’s not good. Ideally, when you have three chances like that, you have to score one at least."
MacDonald will likely get another crack at finding his first goal in red against New England on Saturday at Toyota Park (8:30 pm ET; watch LIVE online). The Revs are reeling, having lost four out of five - including the last two on breakaway goals after midfield turnovers.
Chris Rolfe, MacDonald's strike partner, deposited a cross from the Dutchman for the equalizer against Philly. And the veteran has loved what he's seen so far.
“For me, he’s kind of the type of forward that I like to play with,” Rolfe said. “I think he’s done a great job just being able to hold up the ball and allow myself and Marco [Pappa], Patrick [Nyarko], and [Alvaro Fernandez], whoever’s behind, to play off him. For players like us, that’s very important.”
MacDonald’s arrival leaves Dominic Oduro on the bench, available for late-game substitutions. Coach Frank Klopas likes the flexibility he has with a speedy forward and a target forward.
“It’s good to have guys with some different qualities,” Klopas said. “I think Dominic and him are both fast. I think he’s more comfortable with his back to goal that you can play to feet, but you can also play into space because he’s also fast. It gives you different options.”
MacDonald, for his part, still feels like he’s adjusting. But he’s built an instant rapport with Rolfe, whose biggest strength is his unpredictability off the ball.
“Chris is always moving, and whenever I get the ball, I can always find Chris,” MacDonald said. “I like having players like that around me. He works a lot, and his goalscoring ability is very good, he can shoot from everywhere, this guy.”
With 11 games left in the season, he knows he has plenty of time to inch toward full fitness.
“With the games, the fitness will improve,” MacDonald said. “I feel that this week is already a big improvement. I feel I can take 75 or 80 minutes,” MacDonald said. “I’m excited, I’ve been working hard this whole week just to play tomorrow, and I have a good feeling.”