BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Before Chris Rolfe scored on Sunday against the Houston Dynamo, his first goal in 10 games, Chicago Fire forward Chris Rolfe said was never worried about his ability to put the ball in the back of the net.
Instead, Rolfe explained that he was more concerned about the offense as a whole, which ranks in the league's bottom five with only 20 shots on goal. He was concerned that the Fire weren't creating many chances, and that their set pieces weren't striking fear into opponents' hearts.
“In the position that I'm in, I'm going to score,” Rolfe told MLSsoccer.com. “That wasn't bothering me, it was the way the team was playing.”
Chances have been difficult for Rolfe to come by since late last season, when teams began focusing on taking him out of the game. In the Houston loss, his goal came off of a poor defensive clearance rather than a masterful build-up.
But the Chicago attack is ever-improving. After scoring no goals in their first three games, the Fire have scored five in their last two.
“I think we're still moving in the right direction,” Rolfe said. “ We were pretty organized, moved well. Going forward, I thought we had some good moments. Of course we need to create more. I think we need to be a little bit more dangerous on set pieces. We're not creating a lot of clear-cut chances for us.”
Rolfe's goal, fellow forward Sherjill MacDonald said, could have huge implications for the club as a whole.
“I was very happy for him,” MacDonald, who hasn't scored this season, told MLSsoccer.com. “Not only for him, but for the team, because we know if this guy is confident, we know we're going to score a lot of more goals, and he's going to give a lot of more passes to score. Everyone knows, when Rolfe has his confidence high, he's a fantastic player. It's good for the group.”
MacDonald has had a rough go himself. Although he's created a few chances for teammates, he's made a mess of most of his own looks at goal.
But the Fire's only Designated Player feels like that elusive goal is coming after Rolfe and Maicon Santos opened their accounts in previous weeks.
“Maicon scored, Rolfie scored, so I think next game, [it's] my turn,” MacDonald said. “I feel like it's coming. I have a good feeling. I've been working very hard, so hopefully it's going to pay off.”