June 17, 2012
Rolfe goal caps Fire win
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill----Chris Rolfe made his second MLS debut on Sunday, and did for the Chicago Fire what they hoped he would do when they signed him earlier this year---create a spark.
|Chicago's three goalscorers, Gonzalo Segares, Chris Rolfe and Patrick Nyarko, join in a celebration during the second half of Sunday's 3-1 win over the Red Bulls.
photo courtesy Chicago Fire
Rolfe, making his first appearance with the team after being hampered by an ankle injury, scored to help the Fire to a 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls in what may have been their best performance of the year.
“Chris came in and changed the game," said Fire coach Frank Klopas. "He’s got technical ability. His ability to make a good run. He can definitely be a difference maker. Toward the end you saw that he’s a little bit rusty. We have to keep working with him on his fitness and through games to get his sharpness back. When he is 100% he can definitely be a difference maker and score goals.”
Rolfe, who entered the game in the 61st minute for Sebastian Grazzini, marked his return to the Fire with his first goal, putting the final nail in the coffin. Patrick Nyarko went one-on-one with a New York defender and crossed the ball to Rolfe at the near post for a tap in the 81st minute.
“It was classic Patrick [Nyarko]. He does it all by himself on the outside making it really easy for me," said Rolfe. "As soon as he got his touch past the defender I knew that he was going to slide it across and I just had to be there.”
For Rolfe, who played three seasons with Danish Superliga side Aalborg BK, it was as if he never left the friendly confines of Toyota Park.
"It was a great win for the team - it doesn’t get any better than that, especially compared to the last appearance I had that kind of went the other way. The guys responded really well to the disallowed goal, and finished the game on a strong note.
“Personally, it was exciting – seeing the fans and enjoying all their support. My family was in the crowd and my father was here for Father’s Day. It was great. After the game I was able to let loose a little and enjoy the crowd.”
The Fire turned in their most complete performance of the year, taking the lead in the fourth minute on a goal by Nyarko. Grazzini chipped a ball from the left corner of the penalty area. Nyarko went up and over New York defender Roy Miller and headed the ball into the net.
New York equalized in the 55th minute, and it looked like it was going to be another typical Fire game, in which they could not hold a lead. A corner kick by Mehdi Ballouchy found the head of Dax McCarthy. McCarthy put the ball on frame, and was credited with the goal, although it appeared Markus Holgersson got a toe on it.
Less than nine minutes later, it appeared as though the Fire regained the lead, but a controversial call negated what should have been a goal. Dominic Oduro ran onto a through ball and went in alone on New York goalkeeper Ryan Meara. The ball touched off the New York netminder and continued toward the goal. New York defender Wilman Conde slid in and swept the ball out of the goal, after it appeared to have completely crossed the line. Referee Baldomero Toledo was well behind the play and assistant referee Fabio Tovar, who was six yards behind and obstructed by Conde's body, still ruled no goal.
Oduro was given a yellow card for arguing the call.
But the Fire snapped back. Less than four minutes later, they took the lead for good. Marco Pappa took a short free kick on the near side. Gonzalo Segares took a shot which Meara blocked, but the Costa Rican defender controlled the rebound and scored on his second effort to make it 2-1.
"You saw change a little bit, the players pushed harder to get the win," said Klopas. "They never lost confidence or the belief. Chris played a great through ball. The team responded really well after that. It’s great to be back home with our great fans. We need to build on this and get ready for Columbus, another tough match."