BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The absence of Fire forward Sherjill MacDonald from the team’s lineup sheet Saturday surprised many but came after the Dutch Designated Player came down sick on Friday afternoon.
“Yesterday he came in under the weather a little bit and I asked him if he was able to train. He tried but we sent him to see our doctor and he had strep throat.”
MacDonald wasn’t just absent from the 18 but from Toyota Park as a precaution to keep his illness from spreading throughout the team.
WATCH: Highlights presented by Cricket Wireless
With his sickness, Klopas elected to go with a combination he’d been tinkering this week, pushing Patrick Nyarko forward with Chris Rolfe.
From the first whistle it didn’t appear it had been nearly five years since the pair played together up top as both created multiple chances.
“They combined well.” said Klopas. “You can see the opportunities. I think Patrick was dangerous and Rolfie as well. Their ability to play off each other and stay connected was good.”
The pair combined for seven of the team’s 15 attempts at goal with Nyarko providing the best chance with his hit off the post in the 48th minute. In the 74th minute, Rolfe nearly picked out Nyarko with a threaded ball to the back post but the Ghanaian’s slide was just a touch too late.
Looking as though they’d be happy to carry a point out of Toyota Park, the Union punished the Fire off a quick restart one minute later as Sebastien Le Toux provided Jack McInerney with the lone goal in the match.
Though neither Nyarko or Rolfe converted, the pair seemed to provide the Fire with one of the better offensive performances in terms of production this season.
Could we see them up top together again?
READ: Post-Game Quote Sheet
“Most of the other guys think I’m better up there,” said Nyarko. “I just go out and try to create a bunch of chances and hopefully finish. This week has been the only time [this season] I’ve really practiced up top.
“As of now, I don’t know if it’s going to continue like this but I’m just ready for anything that comes up. If they want to keep me up there, I’m ready to play but it’s just a matter of staying consistent.”
Rolfe wasn’t quite as modest as Nyarko in terms of keeping the pairing together.
“I think Pat’s great wherever he is attacking wise for us,” he said. “Right now I think he can help us up top. He’s our best attacking player right now so get him close to the goal and make him dangerous."