BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire forward Chris Rolfe hasn’t practiced for a second straight week after he sprained his ankle during his second practice with the team on April 19.
The US international has been riding an exercise bike and receiving treatment inside the stadium during practice. Fire head coach Frank Klopas hopes to have the newly re-acquired forward back sometime next week.
“I’m just like you guys, hoping day by day, he gets better,” Klopas told reporters on Thursday. “He’s just doing things inside. Every day, from what I hear, he’s getting better and better.”
Klopas said Rolfe will take some time to become re-acclimated with the team. He was game-fit when he came to the Fire from Danish club Aalborg BK.
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“When you miss days in training, it does take some time to recover,” Klopas said. “That’s the disappointing thing – he was playing, he was getting adjusted to the team. When we can get him out here with the team, it’s still going to be an adjustment.”
No goalkeeper contest yet
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson has given up five goals in his three games since returning from Olympic qualifying, where he gave up the injury-time goal that sealed the Americans’ fate.
But Klopas hasn’t given any indication that there will be a goalkeeper competition, even after Paolo Tornaghi received positive reviews when he started three games in Johnson’s absence.
“I’ve always said that we have very good goalkeepers just like you have depth with the team,” Klopas told MLSsoccer.com. “Things happen and you always have to give confidence, but you always know if things happen that you have a team and guys that can step in and perform.”
Klopas thought blame could be spread for Seattle’s second goal in the Fire’s 2-1 loss to the Sounders last weekend, when Johnson wasn’t able to control Fredy Montero’s free kick from 30 yards. Seattle Forward Eddie Johnson was there to collect the rebound and score on an open goal.
“Part of it had to do with the wind, part of it had to do with having five guys in the wall and not having an extra guy back,” Klopas said. “You can look at all those things. We’re all men and everyone can lift up their hands and say we could’ve done a better job.”
Johnson should make his fourth consecutive start on Friday at Chivas USA (11 pm ET, ESPN Deportes).
Pappa’s pitches a strike
Marco Pappa practiced his right-handed wind-up over and over again after Tuesday’s practice while teammates watched and gave him pointers.
He played baseball a little bit with his brothers growing up in Guatemala City, but he was nervous before he threw out the first pitch at Tuesday’s White Sox game at US Cellular Field against the Cleveland Indians. He watched videos like Gary Neville’s wild first pitch last year and others that went awry.
“I saw some videos before I threw the ball, and I saw some funny things,” Pappa told MLSsoccer.com. “I was nervous a little bit.”
By all accounts, Pappa’s pitch to White Sox pitcher John Danks was a perfect strike.
“It was a great experience,” Pappa said. “I was really happy because the guys from the White Sox supported me and gave me the opportunity.”