BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Star forward Chris Rolfe will readily admit that the Chicago Fire attack hasn't looked pretty this season.
New pieces have moved in and out of the starting lineup, and the Fire just haven't been able to find the right combination of formation, players and style, having scored just once in their first four games. Rolfe, though, thinks the work done during Chicago's bye week may help cure some of the Fire's stylistic woes.
“We're a team that likes to play, we like to combine, and that's probably why it looks so ugly at times, because the chemistry is not there yet,” Rolfe said. “I think this week we've had some good sessions where we've been able to combine and spend time in the attacking third of the field.”
Some players also admit that the Fire haven't exactly found what makes their offense tick.
Last year, a stout defense leading to quick counters made the Fire go. Even though speedster Dominic Oduro is gone, midfielder Patrick Nyarko thinks Chicago have what it takes to play the defend-and-counter style that made coach Frank Klopas successful during his year-and-a-half in charge.
“I think we've still got guys that can counter very well and get those bursts,” Nyarko said. “[Forward Sherjill MacDonald] is not as fast as Dom, but he's pretty quick. We can do the same things. But it all starts defensively. If we defend well, we can break out and create chances.”
That style that Nyarko alluded to is what this team does best, Jeff Larentowicz said. For whatever reason, it hasn't been executed to perfection this season, and the acting on-field captain thinks that needs to change.
“I think that we've gotten away from what we do best, and that's team defending and attacking on a counter attack and pushing guys forward,” Larentowicz told MLSsoccer.com. “We've had difficulty scoring goals and when you fall behind it's difficult to impose your own identity in games.”