Forward Breakdown: Who will score 10 goals for the Fire this year?
We’ve broken down the team’s outlook at the goalkeeper spot, defense, central midfield and out wide, today I finish the Positional Breakdown series with a look at the Fire’s options in attack.
The team returns the starting tandem of Chris Rolfe and Sherjill MacDonald in 2012. With the Dutch Designated Player arriving midway through the campaign, the pair did well in gaining a quick understanding and contributed a combined 11 goals and six assists down the stretch.
With a full preseason to work together, the hope would be that Rolfe and MacDonald are able to produce more from the start.
Still, the question around the league seems to center upon whether either is capable of being a double-digit goal scorer. With a full season last year, Rolfe likely would have broken past 10 and has come close more than a few times in his MLS career while MacDonald’s forte as more of a target and setup man may keep him from hitting for 10.
Behind Rolfe and MacDonald, the Fire secured Maicon Santos from D.C. in December. The powerful Brazilian forward scored seven goals for United in 2012 but most came in the first half of the season before a toe injury slowed his production.
The MLS veteran has still been able to bag goals year-to-year in MLS and showed his ability to hit a ball with his goal in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Vancouver (HIGHLIGHTS).
Santos will serve primarily as the reinforcement for MacDonald as a target forward and his ability with long-range shots should come in handy this season.
With so many bodies in midfield, it seems the plan over the offseason was to move Alex up into a familiar role as a second striker.
“Playing him further up the field is where he’s more dangerous and chances like that are part of what we’ve talked to him about in training. We don’t need him to come very deep to get the ball, we have to find him in those spots closer to goal.”
The Fire acquired more depth at forward this week, bringing in Quincy Amarikwa from Toronto. The fifth-year MLS veteran will likely see most of his minutes come as a substitute as Klopas will look to the 2010 MLS Cup champ to provide high-energy spurts at the end of matches.
Beyond those five, Homegrown forward Kellen Gulley seems set to go on loan in the coming weeks to a lower-league American side as he seeks playing time to further his development.