Both Designated Players still in picture as Chicago Fire take cautious approach: "There's not any one savior"
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire Designated Player Sherjill MacDonald didn't make the trip for Saturday's 1-1 tie against Houston, but that doesn't mean a move is in the works for the Dutch striker, coach Frank Klopas said.
MacDonald has stated that he'd like to move on from the team after he was benched early in the year, and club president Javier Leon has stated that they are trying to appease him. But Klopas said the decision to leave MacDonald home wasn't about keeping him healthy for a move.
“There's nothing right now,” Klopas said. “It comes down to in training here we have to make decisions with guys and competition is good with the team and it's healthy and the guys know that. There's no issue with Mac. If something were to happen, it would be great, but as long as he's here, he's giving everything he has.”
For the rest of his stay in Chicago, gaining a spot on the bench will be a battle for MacDonald, who declined to speak to the media on Tuesday.
Chicago's new Designated Player forward, Juan Luis Anangonó, could be available this weekend when the Fire head to Philadelphia (8 pm ET, MLS LIVE). Quincy Amarikwa has come off the bench each of the last three games and Maicon Santos has been a common sub for Klopas this season, so spots are already limited.
Soon after the Fire acquired MacDonald, Klopas said he had the quality to start right away in Chicago. With Anangonó, who had been training with the Ecuadorian national team after the Argentine season ended last month, he's being more cautious.
“We'll see. I think the important thing with him is his fitness, like I said before,” Klopas said. "There's not any one savior. It's about the team. He gives us some depth in that spot, and he's got to work hard to get in his fitness. But we know he's a No. 9, he's going to run behind defenders, he's going to have a presence in the box.
“Right now, it's just getting his fitness and getting used to his teammates and stuff like that. So he's working hard, doing what we expect him to do.”