BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire forward Sherjill MacDonald finally put the ball in the back of the net during Wednesday's 3-2 exhibition loss to Club América, but he wasn't exactly excited after scoring his first goal since the 2013 season began.
The Fire's only Designated Player is frustrated that he's started the last nine league games on the bench, and he knows the end of the road for him in Chicago may be in sight.
“It took a long time [to score], so I'm not really excited anymore,” MacDonald told MLSsoccer.com. “I like the guys, I like the staff. I've just never been in this situation before that I'm so many times on the bench. So I can stay positive, but it gets to you sometimes … It's nothing personal against Chicago Fire.”
After newly acquired forward Mike Magee scored eight goals in his first nine games with the Fire, MacDonald's chances of sniffing the starting lineup have grown slim.
Chicago have had their best stretch of the season with MacDonald on the bench, so he understands he has little claim to a starting spot. But the Dutch striker wants to move on if he's not being utilized.
“I'm angry that I'm not playing but I don't say that I need to play because we're playing well,” MacDonald said. “If I can get some playing time somewhere else, why not do it? It has nothing to do with the decisions of the staff. I just feel like he's choosing other guys, I can be valuable somewhere else. But I still love the Chicago Fire.”
MacDonald didn't score in seven starts early in the campaign, although he never played a full game before head coach Frank Klopas benched him. As a whole, the Fire went through a rough stretch during that time, going 2-5-1 to start the season, and MacDonald thinks he was given too much blame for the team’s struggles.
“I played eight full games, they always pull me off in the 60th minute,” he said. “I never played a 90-minute game since the [preseason], never one. I'm a little bit pissed about that. And I feel like the times I wasn't playing good, the whole team was not playing good, so it's hard to single out one guy if the whole team wasn't playing good. Now, I have nothing to say because we're winning games.”
The 28-year-old has stated previously that he has multiple suitors in Belgium, where he played before coming Stateside. But finding a team who will pay his hefty salary may be difficult.
While the end of his time in Chicago seems near, MacDonald knows that he may have to fulfill his role as a bench player a bit longer.
“Until another club comes and they have an agreement, before that I'm still a Chicago Fire player, and I'm still going to give 100 percent every day when I come in,” MacDonald said. “I know it's not always going to be a good game for me, but I'll always give 100 percent. … Maybe I'm here ‘til the end of the year. I'm still happy here.”