Sherjill MacDonald wasn’t the first frustrated striker to show some emotion on the field, and he won’t be the last. But he does regret having to be told by his Chicago Fire teammates to hustle off the field Saturday night.
“Of course maybe out of frustration I had a reaction in the game, but I’m still a team player,” MacDonald said after training Tuesday. “Of course I want to play. It was just an emotional reaction and I apologized to the group about it. So we just move on. What’s really important is that in my game I feel I’m much better. So I just have to keep working and playing good.”
MacDonald left Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Columbus in the 78th minute with the score at 0-0. He has yet to play a full 90 minutes this season and yet to score, two facts that nag at the Dutchman.
“I’ve been in these situations before where I don’t score, and then sometimes you score a lot of goals in a row,” he said. “I always try to look at the bright side. At least my game is better. That is for me the most important. Hopefully, if I can keep this same game I can score a goal.”
“With any player it’s about confidence,” said Fire coach Frank Klopas “I think that he’s played well. Even in the last game he played well. He had his chances. It’s going to come. That’s the thing: When you’re a forward or a striker, you might miss 99, but you always have to think the next one is going in the net.
“I think he’s doing the right things. He’s training hard. His fitness level has improved. He’s working, he’s creating chances.”
MacDonald feels the extra pressure of being the only designated player on the current Fire roster, with backup Maicon Santos leading the Fire (2-4-1, 7 points) in scoring with 2 goals.
“The only thing you can do if you don’t finish your chances is to work for the team hard. I always believe in working hard,” he said.
Klopas said he feels no pressure to play his DP even as he struggles.
“There’s no pressure at all,” Klopas said. “I really don’t care about that. If I had pressure on that, then he would have been on the field the first game in L.A. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m going to make the best decisions that I believe (are best) for the team.”
With 2 victories in its last three matches, the Fire hopes it is emerging from early-season doldrums. That theory will be tested at Montreal (4-1-1, 13 points) on Saturday (3 p.m., NBC Sports Network).
The Impact has been the surprise team in MLS this season, but the Fire is hoping to surprise the surprise team. A draw on the road would be fine, too.
“It’s going to be very hard, but if we can just keep the momentum going, we can win,” MacDonald said. “... Our goal was to get 7 points this month. So we have now 6. So of course if we can win that will make it 9, and we’ll be very happy with that.”
The Mila rumors:
Rumors that the Fire is in talks with Polish midfielder Sebastian Mila resurfaced this week.
Klopas said Mila was recommended by two of the coach’s former Fire teammate Jerzy Podbrozny and he is looking at Mila based on Podbrozny’s recommendation. Mila will be out of contract as of June 30.
“If you’re saying, are you signing the guy tomorrow, I would tell you, no,” Klopas said. “Is a deal on the table? No. Does the guy want to come to the U.S.? Yes.”
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