Rolfe scores two goals as Fire advance to semis after 5-1 win
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media June 26, 2013 11:38PM
Chicago Fire midfielder Chris Rolfe (17) controls the ball against Colorado Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers (8) during the first half of an MLS soccer match in Bridgeview, Ill., Wednesday, June 19, 2013. The Fire won 2-1. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: July 30, 2013 8:04AM
At the beginning of this year’s U.S. Open Cup, the Fire was hoping to use the tournament as a way to gain some momentum after a rough start to the season.
While the team has already accomplished that — having not lost since May 18 — struggling Fire players were looking to use the tournament to gain some offensive confidence heading into the latter half of the MLS season.
Chris Rolfe seemed to have done just that in the Fire’s 5-1 win over Orlando City SC in the quarterfinals of the Open Cup at Toyota Park. Rolfe, who netted two goals in the victory, has three goals in Open Cup play compared to only one MLS goal this season.
The Fire will play D.C. United at Toyota Park on Aug. 7 in the semifinals.
“I’m just trying to get in good positions and hopefully finish my chances,” Rolfe said.
“There’s always stress and always trying to get better and always trying to help the team, and when I feel like I’m not helping the team, I always get frustrated.
“We’re all working hard to get better, and tonight I feel like that kind of came together.”
Rolfe has had a frustrating season to date, struggling to put away chances he would have last season when he won the team’s MVP award.
Since Mike Magee was traded to the Fire, Rolfe seems to have developed some chemistry with his fellow striker. Wednesday was the second Open Cup game in which Magee and Rolfe each scored.
Rolfe scored goals in the sixth and 64th minutes. Magee, who added a goal in the 83rd minute, has scored in each of his seven games with the Fire.
It wasn’t until Sunday that Rolfe really felt like he had some of his offensive mojo back.
“Confidence goes a long way for any player on the field,” Fire coach Frank Klopas said. “Every time he’s [Rolfe] on the field he gives everything for the team. But when you do score a couple goals, it does do well for your confidence.”
Orlando City’s Rob Valentino tied the game in the 51st minute, but the Fire responded with a goal from Pat Nyarko in the 59th minute.
Red cards were issued to Orlando City’s Yann Songo’o and Adama Mbengue in the 71st and 85th minutes respectively, negating any chance of a comeback from the visiting team.
Joel Lindpere added a goal in stoppage time, giving the Fire its largest offensive output of the season.