When Sherjill MacDonald joined the Fire on July 24, 2012 not much was known about the forward now occupying a Designated Player spot. A former Ajax youth standout with previous experience at clubs like Anderlecht, West Brom, and most recently Germinal Beerschot, MacDonald found himself working to quickly get familiar with his new club and new surroundings. "I love the city, the people," says MacDonald. "It's getting easier, because obviously I have to get to know the guys. I've know them for a while now, so in the game gets easier. It's fun to play with these guys, we have a lot of talent. I'm enjoying it." He also recognized the importance of having an impact with a new club and in front of new fans. "Sometimes you want to force things because you want to show your abilities," said MacDonald. "I spoke with the coach, and he told me to relax and everything will come. That gave me a little bit of confidence."
It didn't take long for MacDonald to find a rhythm and he quickly became a fan favorite amongst supporters. Having now appeared in eight matches for Chicago, MacDonald has two goals and two assists. While that doesn't seem to indicate a level of scoring production some would like, fellow striker and teammate Chris Rolfe sees other strengths in MacDonald's game that help the club. "He’s just a presence up there that occupies one, sometimes two players,” Rolfe said. “He opens up spaces for other guys, and he does a good job of controlling the game for us.” Frank Klopas also likes what he sees with his new striker pairing. "You can see his ability to play it to his feet or to space. They are both smart players. They look to combine," said Klopas. MacDonald agreed simply saying, "There's been a good connection with Chris (Rolfe) from the start."
From the first time he stepped onto the pitch at Toyota Park, supporters noticed MacDonald's fiery reactions after failing to convert scoring chances and his tendency to wear emotions on his sleeve. MacDonald will not hesitate to openly chastise himself for a missed opportunity or errant shot but he says it's something he doesn't take to heart. "I don't get frustrated, just normal frustrations if you're a striker. When you miss chances you go home with a bad feeling."
After missing a few chances last Wednesday night against Toronto, MacDonald was determined to exhibit more positives against Montreal. "It's not like you expect to score (every game), but if you get the chances you want to score," said the Dutch striker. "After the Toronto game I told myself I have to score so I'm happy it happened," he said after the Montreal match.
Teammate Patrick Nyarko spoke about MacDonald's candid nature on the pitch as well. "I know he’s hard on himself but he’s patient,” Nyarko said. “I think he’s a guy with a lot of confidence coming from Europe. He tells us when we miss in training, Europeans when they miss, they move on to the next play. He might feel bad for himself, but he just moves onto another play.”
No matter what role he's filling, be it as a target man or someone who holds up defenders to create scoring chances for his teammates it's hard to deny the positive impact MacDonald has had on the club. Winners in six of their last seven matches Chicago is in contention for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Clearly, midseason signings like Chris Rolfe, Alvaro Fernandez, and Alex all look to contribute to the attack while playing off of MacDonald. "I want to hold the ball and be a force in the front. If I get the opportunity I love to score as well but the most important thing is to help the team."