BRIDGEVIEW --- Getting his first MLS start Sunday afternoon, second-year defender Hunter Jumper made a smooth transition into the side -- and put in a solid performance to boot.
Coming in for the injured Gonzalo Segares -- a late scratch after picking up a right hamstring injury Friday -- Jumper slotted in at left back and assisted the Chicago Fire's opening goal in the 3-1 victory over New York.
"Yeah absolutely [the wind got a hold of that cross]," an honest Jumper said after the match. "I saw Danny (Daniel Paladini) between the center backs and he made a perfect run. Obviously, I wanted to whip it in a little harder, but I'll take it."
Jumper, 24, was a perfect one-for-one on tackle attempts, while his two interceptions and five clearances helped the team to its first win of the season.
The defender from Plano, Texas, made five league appearances last season, but earned his first start this past weekend. He found out a couple of days before the match that he would be starting, and was quick to credit his teammates for his transition into the side.
"It's such a great locker room, everyone's there to help you out and give you confidence" Jumper said. "It was an easy transition, especially offensively."
Getting your first start in MLS can be a daunting task, but Jumper said he felt confident going into the fixture.
"I wasn't nervous, just really excited to start, especially against a team like the Red Bulls," Jumper told Hot Time in Old Town. "They've got great guys like [Thierry] Henry and [Tim] Cahill. Once you get out there, it just comes easy."
Jumper said credit was due to his partners on the back line -- which was the fourth different defensive combination deployed by head coach Frank Klopas due to injuries.
"I mean for me, it wasn't too difficult to transition in," Jumper told HTIOT. "Austin [Berry]'s my roommate, we get along well. He was communicating with me out there, and Jalil [Anibaba] is a real vocal guy. Wells [Thompson] is a veteran guy as well. Then you have Sean [Johnson] in the back as an anchor, and he organizes everyone."
With one start and one assist to his name, where can Hunter Jumper go from here?
"Two starts, two assists," he joked. "No. I'll take it, though."