Accam reaches new heights with hat-trick
At times over the past two seasons, the Chicago Fire offense was the David Accam show and not much more.
This season, with new teammates sharing the scoring load and spotlight, Accam has only flourished further, and on Saturday night, the Ghanaian put on his finest show yet.
“I thought I could do anything on the pitch today,” Accam said. “For me, I just wanted to enjoy myself and entertain the fans and also help the team win. That’s what we did today. Especially after my first goal, I just thought I could get more goals and help the team win.”
Accam played a part in all four Chicago goals as the Fire beat Orlando City SC, 4-0, in front of 20,000 fans at Toyota Park. With three goals and an assist, he became the first Ghanaian to record an MLS hat trick and the seventh Fire player to do so.
“To be fair, I think this is my first professional hat trick so it’s huge for me,” Accam said. “I will enjoy it tonight.”
With a little more than a month until the All-Star Game comes to Soldier Field, Accam is making a case to be selected for the first time in his three MLS seasons.
With 10 goals and 6 assists on the year, Accam has already surpassed his 2016 output of nine goals and five assists. In 16 matches this year, he’s already eclipsed what he did in 24 last year.
“He has more support I think,” said Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic. “And then on his side I think he’s committed, he’s cleaner on the ball, when he has opportunities he has more hunger to finish and today was a perfect example of that. …
“I think he understands very well how to play with the team that we have now and with the teammates he’s surrounded with. We just have to work to give David opportunities and that he’s always fit for the game and then we expect that performances like this will come even more.”
It didn’t take long for Accam to show Orlando City what it was in for Saturday. In the third minute, Accam cooly backheeled a Matt Polster cross past Joe Bendik. Then, in the eighth minute Accam got his second, latching onto a ball over the top from Bastian Schweinsteiger and rounding Bednik to double the lead. Within eight minutes he had his first brace in MLS play.
In the 52nd minute Accam created the third, driving at the Orlando City backline before placing a pass perfectly between two defenders for Nemanja Nikolic, who finished for his 14th goal of the year.
“I think this year we’re more dynamic first of all, I can be on the right, middle, out front everywhere. And for me it’s working really hard,” Accam said. “We have players who can play anywhere out front or in the middle so for us we keep changing and try to get in good positions. We have players who work for each other and also want to help the team win.”
Accam later drew and converted a penalty for the fourth. He said there wasn’t any argument between himself and Golden Boot leader Nikolic about taking the penalty.
“No, there wasn’t, to be fair,” Accam said. “I just took the ball and he said, ‘David, just take it.’ We share responsibilities with the penalties every time. I know he wants to score every game. For me, I try to help him score goals and I’m happy I did today.”
In the 80th minute, Accam walked off to a standing ovation with international duty ahead of him. The 26-year-old said he will be leaving Sunday to join Ghana ahead of its upcoming international friendlies against Mexico and the United States.
“It’s a good thing for me,” Accam said. “That’s where I want to be, I want to be playing for the national team. It’s extra motivation for me to perform well and also to go to the national team.”
He also brushed aside any speculation about his future with the club.
“I want to be on a team where I will develop and be the best I can and also win trophies. At the moment I think we have it here,” Accam said. “I don’t know, no one knows anything in soccer, anything can happen in the future, whether here or in Europe I don’t know where I will be but I know there will be a lot of interest so I’ll keep doing well and try to help the team.”