Chicago Fire coach Frank Klopas could have let loose on unhappy striker Sherjill MacDonald. Instead he chose to praise MacDonald.
MacDonald, the Fire's highest-paid player, scored his first goal of the season in the Fire's 3-2 loss to Mexico's Club America in an international friendly at sold-out Toyota Park.
"I was happy for him," Klopas said of the second-half substitute, "obviously, and I think everyone on the team was. He's worked hard, and I think it's good sometimes to get rewarded like that. Quincy (Amarikwa) played him a terrific through-ball, and you see the pace. It's good for his confidence. He's been working hard and it's good to see him score."
It's possible the goal might also be MacDonald's last for the Fire. He's made it clear he wants to go where he will play regularly, having started just seven of the Fire's 17 MLS matches this season. The Dutchman could be transferred to an European club this month, especially with the Fire known to be looking for more attacking help.
Despite starting only four players who started Sunday's MLS match, the Fire scored the first goal in the Club America friendly. Daniel Paladini chested a Maicon Santos chip pass and put in a side volley from 8 yards out.
Club America scored the next three goals, two on second-half penalty kicks to ruin an otherwise strong performance from goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi, pressed into service for July with Sean Johnson away on international duty. Tornaghi had struggled in his first two starts since Johnson left but looked more comfortable against Club America.
"You need games," Klopas said of Tornaghi. "The two goals came from PKs. It's very difficult for him to do anything about that. It'd be nice if we could get some calls like that at home too."
The Fire also played new left back Shaun Francis, signed Wednesday from third-division USL-PRO side Charlotte Eagles. Francis could get the start at Vancouver on Sunday (6 p.m., Channel 50) due to Gonzalo Segares' suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
"It felt great," Francis said. "It was a magnificent atmosphere. It was good coming in and just helping the team. Even though we didn't come out victorious, it was still a good feeling to just be a part of this franchise."
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