BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Throughout his first few starts, Chris Rolfe knows that even as an attacking midfielder, he’s strayed back a little bit too much from time to time.
As an attacking player, the Chicago Fire midfielder knows he needs to be able to judge when to push the game and when to hold back. And the Fire have been doing more holding back than pushing forward during Rolfe’s four starts, in which they’ve scored just two goals.
“It’s something that we’ve talked about,” Rolfe told MLSsoccer.com. “We’ve gotten some results because we stayed so compact. Sometimes it’s a fine line of knowing when to go back and when to go forward, that’s something we’re working on right now.”
With Pável Pardo and Logan Pause playing in the defensive midfield positions, Rolfe and his attacking teammates have the ability to push the game when need be.
While commending the play of his attacking midfielders after Saturday’s 1-0 win over Vancouver, head coach Frank Klopas made sure to mention that their creative play wouldn’t be possible without Pause and Pardo.
“They have more freedom when we have two holding guys behind them,” Klopas said. “Those guys can be creative and express themselves in the final third.”
Pause knows that quick distribution from the defensive midfielders is important if the Fire want to get back to their goalscoring ways. That may be especially important on during Wednesday afternoon's game at New York (1 pm ET, watch LIVE online), when a free-flowing offensive game may be more difficult to play in the heat of the day.
“We know that we have the ability to play out of the back, breaking teams down,” Pause said. “But if we can win balls in the midfield and get them as quickly as we can to the midfield and the guys up front that are effective, that’s what we try to do.”
It’s likely that Chicago’s free-wheeling, 3-1 win over New York on June 17 will be nothing like Wednesday’s game. And while three points would mean the Fire leapfrog New York in the standings, they wouldn’t be disappointed with a tie.
“We’re right at their heels,” Pause said. “It’ll probably be a little bit slower of a pace, but we’re going there with a game plan of getting points. Hopefully we’ll get three, but hopefully we don’t leave without points.”