BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire forward Sherjill MacDonald has come to realize that sometimes, all that it takes to break out of a bad stretch is a little peace of mind.
During his first seven games, in which he scored just one goal, the Dutch striker admitted that it wasn’t always easy to stay positive while trying to prove himself with his new team.
But after he missed multiple point-blank chances in Fire’s 2-1 win over Toronto FC on Wednesday, a chat with coach Frank Klopas put his mind at ease.
“Sometimes I put maybe too much pressure on myself, and sometimes it works opposite,” MacDonald told reporters after Saturday's 3-1 win over Montreal. “Sometimes you want to force things because you want to show your abilities, but I spoke with the coach and he told me to relax, and everything will come. That gave me a little bit of confidence.”
After failing to crack the scoresheet for almost a month, MacDonald finally bagged a goal Saturday when he flicked a header past Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
“It feels good,” the Designated Player said. “In the Toronto game and today, I had a few chances, but before that there were a few games when I got not a lot of chances. But this is the way it works as a striker sometimes.”
While MacDonald was certainly hard on himself during his rough stretch, teammates didn’t seem to think he lacked confidence.
The former member of the Ajax youth system acquired thick skin through several trying situations in Europe.
“I know he’s hard on himself, but he’s patient,” midfielder Patrick 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.”
Although self-evaluations were rife with negativity during his four-week goal-scoring drought, MacDonald claimed he was always positive about his next game.
“If you miss chances, you go home with a bad feeling,” MacDonald said. “I said immediately after the [Toronto] game, ‘Next game, I have to score. I put a little bit of pressure on myself. This is the way I motivated myself.’”