BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Five minutes into the Chicago Fire's loss to Vancouver last week, Chris Rolfe charged into the penalty box to get on the receiving end of a chipped pass from Mike Magee. Rolfe tipped a shot toward the upper corner, but goalkeeper Brad Knighton sprawled to make a save.
The Fire wouldn't score until second-half injury time.
In the third minute against D.C. United on Saturday, Rolfe received an early cross from Joel Lindpere, and this time he wouldn't be denied, knocking a shot past Joe Willis. The early goal kicked off a four-goal outburst in a 4-1 win.
“We talked about how important it was to score first, and we got the second one within 15 minutes,” Rolfe said. “That changes the whole outlook of the game for us.”
About 43 minutes after his first strike, Rolfe scored again on a chipped pass from Lindpere, confidently placing his shot into the lower corner to register his first multi-goal game of the season.
Rolfe's second goal gave Chicago a 3-0 lead and put him back on the goalscoring track after struggling for the early part of the season.
“The difference tonight was just finishing our chances,” coach Frank Klopas said. “I thought [Rolfe's brace] was great. Chris had opportunities the last game. Both goals were great finishes, but I thought his movement was very good and then the first ball Joel played to him, I thought it was a fantastic goal. I think Chris has that kind of quality.”
Rolfe's standout game comes in the wake of news that the Fire are on the verge of bringing in a new forward, a move they hope is completed next week.
But the nine-year veteran, who played the second half of Saturday's game in the midfield, showed on Saturday why he's worthy of a starting spot.
“You can play him out wide and he's willing to do the work,” Klopas said. “Then you have him up top and he's very dangerous, he's a very technical player. When you get him around the goal, he makes plays like that. I think the balls and his movement today was fantastic, and I was very happy for him to rebound from last week and some of the opportunities he's had.”