BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – A designated player known for his speed, strength and hold-up play sits atop the Chicago Fire lineup along with the 2012 team MVP.
But Sherjill MacDonald, Chris Rolfe, and the Fire are still goal-less after the first two games of the season. MacDonald, who did not start and played only 23 minutes in the 4-0 loss in LA last weekend, was subbed out at halftime of Saturday's 1-0 loss to New England.
“We took out MacDonald because we needed him more,” coach Frank Klopas said. “We needed him to hold the ball better. At times when we tried to find him, he was late to movement. He had a couple of chances he didn't put away. Going against the wind, Maicon [Santos] was bigger and stronger.”
MacDonald had a golden opportunity to score. In the 27th minute, Patrick Nyarko found him wide open just outside the six-yard box, but the Dutchman mis-hit the ball and sent the ball dribbling to goalkeeper Matt Reis. His only other shot flew yards over the cross bar.
Despite the missed opportunities, MacDonald tried to keep an even keel after the game.
“I think I had more time than I thought I had. I tried to shoot very fast,” MacDonald said. “For me, this is my job. As a striker, I know things like this happen. I'm just there to support this team no matter what.”
MacDonald showed a penchant for missing clear-cut chances last season, but his hold-up play and combination with Rolfe gave him leeway.
So far, his hold-up play doesn't appear to be good enough. The Fire have expressed interest in acquiring a forward during the July transfer window, so the clock is ticking on the Dutch striker.
But MacDonald is confident the Fire's forward corps will turn things around.
“I still think I have a good connection with Rolfe,” he said. “Some games, it works better than other games. But I'm sure that, once the season gets going, we're going to be okay.”