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updated: 7/24/2012 4:16 PM

Chicago Fire signs Dutch striker MacDonald

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  • Sherjill MacDonald of West Brom, here blocking the bath of a player in a Barclays Premier League match between Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion, has signed with the Chicago Fire and is practicing with the team today.

      Sherjill MacDonald of West Brom, here blocking the bath of a player in a Barclays Premier League match between Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion, has signed with the Chicago Fire and is practicing with the team today.
    Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire/2008 Getty Images

  • Sherjill MacDonald, a 27-year-old Dutch strike, has signed with the Chicago Fire to provide some spark to the offense. Over the course of his 10-year career in Belgium, the Netherlands and England, MacDonald has tallied 47 goals in 217 appearances.

      Sherjill MacDonald, a 27-year-old Dutch strike, has signed with the Chicago Fire to provide some spark to the offense. Over the course of his 10-year career in Belgium, the Netherlands and England, MacDonald has tallied 47 goals in 217 appearances.
    Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire/2008 Getty Images

 
 

Some teams go big with midseason acquisitions. The Chicago Fire went modest this time.

The Fire made striker Sherjill MacDonald's long-awaited signing as a Designated Player official Tuesday, just days before the summer transfer window closes Friday and more than two weeks after MacDonald announced the signing via Twitter. The deal was held up by visa issues.

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The Fire is hoping Major League Soccer is a better fit for the 27-year-old MacDonald than the Belgian Jupiler League.

In 82 appearances for Germinal Beerschot, MacDonald scored 15 goals in 82 games over three seasons, an average of roughly a goal every 5.5 games. At that rate, the striker would score just 2-3 goals in the Fire's final 14 games of the season.

That's not DP-level production, and the Fire needs more.

The Fire has just 2 goals in its last five MLS matches and 22 goals total this season, 15th in a 19-team league.

San Jose's Chris Wondolowski has 17 already this year. Eastern Conference-leading New York's Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry have combined for 23.

"Sherjill is a goal scorer who can hold the ball up, attack with pace and is very technically sound," Fire coach Frank Klopas said in a club statement. "He has competed at a high level in Europe and will bolster our attack as we make a push toward the MLS Cup playoffs."

It's also not the kind of splash Fire fans hoped they would get. MacDonald doesn't bring the buzz that Andriy Schevchenko or even David Suazo would have brought. MacDonald doesn't have a resume to rival Tim Cahill, who is rumored to be headed to New York from Everton of the English Premier League.

"We have followed Sherjill's career over the course of the last year and we are happy to bring him to Chicago," said Fire President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon. "Sherjill adds to our attacking options and is a professional on the field and in the locker room."

No other signings are expected for the Fire this week.

Not every big-name signing works out, of course. The Fire went big two years ago with Nery Castillo, and he was a big-time bust.

But many questions remain unanswered.

Can MacDonald crack the starting lineup? DPs are expected to play, but in the Fire's 4-5-1 formation that probably would mean Dominic Oduro, who scored 12 goals in 2011 and has 5 this year, would sit.

Is MacDonald a DP because of his salary or because the league figured in his transfer fee, like it did with the Fire's other DP, Federico Puppo? The Fire isn't answering that question.

One question the Fire did answer Tuesday is who will leave the team and open an international roster spot for MacDonald. The answer was the little-used Puppo, loaned to Uruguayan side Defensor Sporting Club. Puppo played in 11 games this season, starting once and failing to score.

• Follow Orrin's soccer reports on Twitter @orrinsoccer.

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