BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – October 6, 2012, seems like a long time ago for Sherjill MacDonald.
That was the day that the Dutch Designated Player used his speed and strength to score two goals against the New York Red Bulls in a 2-0 win. The victory capped off a stretch of seven wins in eight games for the Fire, and MacDonald gave fans reason to believe that his recent acquisition was a smart one.
“I don't think too much about that, because that was a long time ago,” MacDonald told MLSsoccer.com.
If MacDonald can rekindle some of that magic against the Red Bulls on Sunday (5 pm ET, ESPN2, LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com), he may once again give people reason to believe there's hope for this Fire offense, which has scratched out just one goal during an 0-3-1 start.
Through three games, MacDonald had a difficult time finding the form that made him an offensive threat and a valuable hold-up forward last season. He showed some promise in a 4-1 loss to Chivas USA two weekends ago, when he was able to hold the ball and create chances for teammates.
“The combinations were better, and I felt more connected to my teammates. We lost but I think during the game, I felt much better,” MacDonald said. “I feel better. I feel confident in my game. I feel like I'm making progress every week, so now hopefully the goals are going to come soon.”
The Fire used the bye week to work on finishing and combinations in the offensive third that have been off throughout the early stages of the season.
After an improved offensive performance and an extra week of preparation, coach Frank Klopas thinks the virtual seal over the opponent's goal is on the verge of breaking.
“We've done a lot more in the final third [in training], a lot more playing in front of the goal, getting the guys more confidence,” Klopas said. “We've created chances. The goals are going to come. The important thing is for the guys not to lose confidence. As a forward, you've always got to be looking for that next chance. It doesn't matter if you've missed 10, you've got to have that kind of attitude. I can see guys do care. It's early in the season. We have a good group.”