Fire Notebook: Rolfe available for Chicago debut vs NE

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire forward Chris Rolfe has made no secret of his desire to play over the last few weeks after recovering from a sprained ankle. Head coach Frank Klopas also has expressed frustration before recent games as he yearned for his newest acquisition to see the field.

Both might finally get their wish. Rolfe took part in a full practice on Thursday, which included a scrimmage, six weeks after he sprained his ankle during his second practice with the team.

“It’s doing quite a bit better,” Rolfe said. “It’s still an issue to talk with the [coaches and medical staff] about, but it’s doing well.”

Rolfe joined his Fire teammates on their five-day road trip last weekend even though it was always doubtful he’d play against Columbus or in their US Open Cup loss to the Michigan Bucks. But as he reached full fitness, Rolfe was able to work with trainer Tony Jouaux on the trip.

He may be available for selection on Saturday in New England (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online), but while he expressed his desire to play, Rolfe once again deferred to his coach, who was optimistic but non-committal.

“He’s pushing himself from a fitness standpoint, and he’s going to be available,” Klopas said. “Obviously the field is on turf, so we’ve got to put that in consideration, too. But it’s good that he’s going to be available for us.”

Klopas on Ultimate Soccer Arenas

On one sideline of the indoor field at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Mich., where the Fire lost 3-2 to the Michigan Bucks on Tuesday in the Open Cup, players could only take a step or two before they hit the wall. On the other side, fans crowded the field, and on top there was a ceiling, which the ball hit several times. 

Asked if he had any regrets about the way his team approached the Open Cup loss, Klopas responded with complaints about the Bucks’ home turf.

“Regrets? Yeah. We never should’ve played on a field like that,” Klopas said. “If we would have known that, I would’ve not played. I wouldn’t have put my players in a position where they can get hurt, because that wasn’t soccer. That’s the only regret.”

Injury update

Patrick Nyarko hasn’t appeared on an injured list all season, but the Fire forward has several ailments, including hip, hamstring and rib injuries. Nyarko said Thursday that he’s had to take shots of the pain reliever Toradol before the last ten games in order to play.

“It gets me through the games,” Nyarko said. “It’s been tough, but I hate making excuses. If I’m there, I’m going.”

Dan Gargan said his lingering left foot injury has improved. Early in the season, the right back had sharp pains when he pushed off, but now the pain has been reduced to a dull ache.

Forward Dominic Oduro said his sore hamstring is almost back to normal.

Midfielder Sebastián Grazzini didn’t play on Saturday or Tuesday, but Klopas said he should return to action in New England after participating in full practice on Thursday.

Defender Arne Friedrich is still targeting the Fire’s first game after the international break against New York on June 17 for his return from a hamstring strain.