August 17, 2012
By Charles Cuttone
THEY GO TOGETHER
Rolfe and the Fire a good fit
No matter how you look at it, it seems like Chris Rolfe and the Chicago Fire were destined to be together.
|Fire coach Frank Klopas expects Fire returnee Chris Rolfe to play an important role in the teamís push for the postseason, which continues Saturday night (7:30 pm) against the New England Revolution at Toyota Park.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Even after a three-year absence, the team and the 29-year old forward seem a perfect fit.
"Itís a really good situation for me to come back to the team I started my career with," said Rolfe, who scored two goals in the Fire's 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union last Sunday, giving him four for the season.
Rolfe began his professional career with the Fire as a third round selection in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft. During his tenure with the Fire from 2005 to 2009, the Kettering, Ohio native became a mainstay for the Men in Red, scoring 40 goals and tallying 20 assists in 149 games across all competitions. Rolfe helped lead the Fire to the clubís fourth Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2006.
Rolfe, a native of Kettering, OH, not only started his professional career with the Fire, he played for the club's PDL team while he was in college.
"I played with them when I was in college also-the PDL team," he said. "So to come back here it means a lot to me and I hope it means a lot to the organization."
Fire head coach Frank Klopas sees Rolfe as a key cog in getting the team back into the playoffs, a place they have not been since the year Rolfe left. Klopas says he brings some rare skills back to MLS.
"His quality around the box, he has technical ability," said Klopas. "So clean with his feet. You get him close to goal, you give him opportunities, he's one of the best I've seen. I see him every day in practice. He's so good around the box, either foot. His finishing ability is very good. He brings that element."
After departing the Fire in 2009, Rolfe signed with Danish side Aalborg BK, where he appeared in 32 matches, tallying six goals over the course of three seasons.
In the time he was gone, Rolfe says he's seen some big changes in MLS.
"Itís definitely improved," he said. "I think the style of play is getting even better. But one of the most dramatic changes is that we are playing in all these soccer-specific stadiums and the league's expanded, going into new places, playing in new arenas. It feels like there is now an actual home field advantage for a lot of the teams. "