Chris Rolfe (center) works out with the Chicago Fire for the first time since returning to the team.
Courtesy of Chicago Fire

Break gives Fire's Rolfe perfect opportunity to integrate

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Coming off of a stretch of eight games in 30 days, it comes as no surprise that Dominic Oduro, Patrick Nyarko, Sebastián Grazzini and a few other battle-weary Chicago Fire players are using their week off to rest.

But for Chris Rolfe, the time off is crucial in a much different way. After missing out on his first six weeks of training with a sprained ankle, Rolfe has finally made a full recovery and is using this chance to get comfortable with his new team.

“This will be an important two weeks for me,” said Rolfe, who played 21 minutes in his debut in Saturday’s 2-0 loss to New England. “I’ve only been able to train with the team a couple of times up until this week, and being able to have two weeks of a period where we’re not stressing about games and we’re able to train hard, that’s going to be good for me.”

He’ll have to wait until next week to practice with most of Chicago’s offensive unit. No regular starters in the attack practiced on Wednesday, and the Fire don’t practice again until Sunday.

Oduro, resting his injured hamstring, strolled along practice-field sideline in street clothes on Wednesday and smiled when asked about the prospect of playing with a healthy Rolfe.

“He’s an amazing player,” Oduro told “I’m looking forward to working with him on the field. I’ve seen him play a little bit. Obviously he’s been hurt, but the little bit I’ve seen him play, even in the New England game, he was effective. I’m looking forward to working with him next week.”

Rolfe is set to make his home debut on June 16, when the Fire host New York.

He’ll play at Toyota Park for the first time since the Fire lost the 2009 Eastern Conference Championship game, before he left for Aalborg BK in Denmark, where he remained until rejoining the Fire at the beginning of this season.

“I’m excited to get back. It’s going to feel great to get back into that stadium to play in front of our fans,” Rolfe said. “It’s exciting to get to know these new guys and find partnerships.”

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