Fire’s Rolfe, MacDonald provide the offense in 2-1 victory against Revolution
By Seth Gruen For Sun-Times Media August 18, 2012 10:40PM
New England Revolution v Chicago Fire
Updated: September 20, 2012 10:29AM
After watching the Fire struggle offensively throughout the early part of the season, the team’s front office decided to commit major dollars to its front line.
The team brought back striker Chris Rolfe, who left the Fire after five seasons to play in Denmark, and signed high-priced designated player Sherjill MacDonald to pair with Rolfe up top.
On Saturday, the investment paid off big-time against the New England Revolution at Toyota Park.
Rolfe and MacDonald scored the goals in the Fire’s 2-1 victory. It was the fourth goal in as many games for Rolfe. MacDonald scored his first MLS goal in his fourth game with the Fire.
“We’re playing real well together, and it’s only going to get better,” Rolfe said. “I love the way he plays.”
In only their second game starting together, Rolfe and MacDonald already have developed a strong chemistry.
The duo’s ability to build up play resulted in 22 attempts on goal and seven on target.
“The relationship is good,” coach Frank Klopas said. “They’re smart players. It’s easy to play when you have smart players around you.”
Rolfe struck first when he converted a penalty kick in the fifth minute. The penalty was awarded after he was tripped by Revolution defender A.J. Soares.
The Revs answered six minutes later when Fernando Cardenas scored from a yard out. A defensive breakdown allowed a loose ball to squirt out to Cardenas, who had an open net.
The Fire (12-7-5, 41 points) generally has been solid defensively, but lapses in concentration continue to plague the team. In last Sunday’s 3-1 victory in Philadelphia, the Union scored on an own-goal by Fire defender Jalil Anibaba.
MacDonald’s goal, a header off a Patrick Nyarko chip in the 25th minute, put the Fire up for good.
In second-half stoppage time, Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson made a diving save on a strike from Soares.
“This was a situation where we weren’t compact, and we have to keep our shape,” Fire center back Arne Friedrich said. “But it’s a team thing, and we will work on it in practice.”