Whats behind Fires scoring slump?
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Chicago Fire forward Sherjill MacDonald (7) reacts after missing a pass against the Houston Dynamo during the second half of their MLS soccer playoff match, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in Bridgeview, Ill. Houston won 2-1. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Forward Sherjill MacDonald likes the Chicago Fire's chances of breaking out of its scoring drought Sunday.
"I think this is the perfect game to score some goals," MacDonald said of Sunday's match against Chivas USA (4 p.m. Sunday at Toyota Park). "I think last game we had an OK game. I think defensively we were very strong. The confidence is coming back, so I think next home game is going to be a nice game."
Chivas plays a 3-4-3 formation, and the Fire (0-2-1, 1 point) hopes it can beat those three defenders, though Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy is one of the most underrated players in MLS.
"You can't give up," said coach Frank Klopas, himself a former forward. "You've got to just be positive and keep working and hopefully the next chance is going to be the one that goes in. You can't put pressure on yourself."
"I think when the goals are coming, then the confidence is high and we'll be OK," MacDonald added.
So why the slump to start the season?
"I think the schedule was also a hard schedule," MacDonald said. "L.A., (Sporting Kansas City) are hard teams, so the focus was more defensively. With the next game coming up it's a more open game. I think we're going to get more chances to attack more."
Poor fitness has kept MacDonald from playing an entire game this season, but he said after Wednesday's training session that he's ready.
"My fitness is very good. At the moment I feel very strong," he said. "I can go 90. For sure, for sure."
The problem has been compartment syndrome in his calf, a problem that has been bothering him for a few months and probably will require surgery eventually.
"There's no free days at the moment, so I have to deal with it," he said. "It's painful, but you have to play with pain sometimes."
Despite the early struggles there are no indications the Fire will acquire another player. That includes former Fire central defender Bakary Soumare, who still makes his home in Chicago and has asked to be traded from Philadelphia because he hasn't been playing.
"It's not always so easy. I know Baky very well, he spent a long time here," Klopas said. "When you treat guys in the right way they feel this is always their team. It's great, but there's always a lot of implications. But you look into every situation for sure."
There are factors that could keep the Fire from trading for Soumare: his relatively high salary; and the fact the Fire feels pretty good about current central defenders Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba and the injured Arne Friedrich, due back in a couple of weeks.
It's more likely the Fire will bring in a striker, though it had planned to wait until July.
"We're looking at everything. We're looking at every opportunity to improve the team," Klopas said.
Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrin_schwarz
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