September 22, 2012
Kathryn L. Knapp
LEADING THE FIRE
Rolfe's return helps ignite offense
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chris Rolfe returned to Chicago and it’s fair to say he’s on Fire. The forward has tallied eight goals in 17 matches this season. When he’s not scoring, Rolfe is creating chances. He’s throwing his body on the line any chance he gets to help his team out.
|Chris Rolfe has played a key role in the Fire's recent run of success.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Saturday night was no exception. Rolfe netted two goals three minutes apart, helping the Fire fight back and earn a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew. On the first goal, Rolfe broke free and sprinted toward goal. Sherjill MacDonald crossed the ball into the box, where Rolfe sent a left-footed shot into the net, knotting things up at 1-1. On the second goal, Patrick Nyarko made a run, guarded heavily by a wall of gold. Nyarko flicked a short pass to Rolfe who lifted the ball over the defenders and goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum and into the net for a 2-1 lead.
Rolfe said he was just happy to help out.
“I tried to put myself in good position to help the team,” Rolfe said. “The first goal was a great pass. On the second, Patrick has done a great job creating chances for us. I looked up and had a gap there and hit the ball in.”
Fire head coach Frank Klopas complimented Rolfe’s tallies. “Those were great goals,” Klopas said. “They were first class.”
Rolfe is no stranger to tradition, honor and passion. The Ohio native was drafted out of University of Dayton by the Fire, where he spent the first five seasons of his career. Rolfe then left to pursue overseas opportunities. During his prior MLS tenure, Rolfe tallied 36 goals and 18 assists. He came back to the Fire reenergized and a bit wiser.
“I have always said that Chris Rolfe is the best player I’ve ever played with,” Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko said. “I wanted him to come back so badly. He’s done great since he’s been back.”
It’s the second time this season that Rolfe has tallied two goals in a match. The 29-year-old connected twice in the Fire’s 3-1 win over Philadelphia August 12th. Overall, Rolfe has eight goals and two assists this season.
“I’m happy to be back,” Rolfe said. “It’s gone pretty well. I’m not happy with my overall play.”
But at this point Rolfe is focused on one thing – the postseason. While the Fire is 4-0-0 in September, they have fought from behind in the last two matches. While it shows character, Rolfe said it’s a little nerve-wracking going into the postseason.
“We seem to start out decent, give up a goal and respond,” Rolfe said. “It’s something we’re going to have to fix. It’s good we react that way, but it’s going to get tougher to get chances.”
And as for the goal for the remainder of the season, he said it’s simple. “We want to win a championship.”
Rolfe and the Fire continue their hunt for a championship, when they head to Sporting Kansas City for a Friday match which will be a showdown between the top two teams in the East.