BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire captain Logan Pause readily admitted that he's spent too much time at right back during his 10-year career to have made two costly errors in last weekend's 2-0 loss to the Montreal Impact.
But Chris Rolfe thinks the Fire may have deeper problems when Pause is forced to move to right back, simply because his play in defensive midfield is so valuable. Chicago's improvement after Pause joined the lineup four games ago makes complete sense to the forward.
“It's no coincidence at all,” Rolfe told MLSsoccer.com. “He reads the game very well and he's able to dictate our play. Even if that means he has to step higher and do something he's not used to, he'll do it. He'll do whatever he needs to do, and it shows. When he gets the ball, he looks to play it forward, and he looks to make a pass as quickly as possible. That helps as well.”
During Pause's three games in the center of the midfield, the Fire have played some if their best soccer of the year, winning their only two games of the season and suffering a late-game loss at the Houston Dynamo.
Pause was forced to move to the right back spot last week because Wells Thompson was retroactively given a red card after Chicago's win over Columbus one week earlier. Daniel Paladini replaced him in the midfield, and coach Frank Klopas thinks the absence of a natural destroyer hurt the Fire going forward.
“I think a lot of [the Fire's strong play during those three games] has to do with him because it frees up [central midfielder] Jeff [Larentowicz] a little bit more to push forward more,” Klopas said. “I think Danny's been good, but it's different because I think at times they both want to go forward and they've got to stay a little bit back.”
After Larentowicz received a red card last Saturday, Pause should be back to his natural position alongside Paladini. With Pause back in the middle of the field, Rolfe thinks there will be a noticeable difference, even if Pause isn't always noticeable himself.
“He's got a lot of qualities that a lot of regular fans [don't notice],” Rolfe said. “You don't appreciate him until you start looking at what he's doing.”