Jeopardy double: Chris Rolfe states his case to stay in lineup
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media July 20, 2013 11:08PM
BRIDGEVIEW, IL - JULY 07: Chris Rolfe #17 of the Chicago Fire chases the ball against Sporting Kansas City during an MLS match at Toyota Park on July 7, 2013 in Bridgeview, Illinois. Sporting Kansas City defeated the Fire 2-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Chris Rolfe
Updated: August 22, 2013 7:05AM
The Fire has yet to sign any players since the secondary transfer window opened July 9, but it’s clear that striker Chris Rolfe is fighting for his job.
The organization announced at halftime Saturday that it intends to sign a high-priced striker by next week.
Rolfe made a strong argument to remain in the starting lineup by scoring two goals in the Fire’s 4-1 victory against D.C. United at Toyota Park.
Fire president of soccer operations Javier Leon said the team was going to sign a 24-year-old striker who’s in the Ecuadorean national-team player pool.
Leon told media members that as a result of the mystery player’s transfer fee, he will be considered a designated player (it allows teams to sign high-priced players by counting only a portion of their salary toward the cap).
Leon would not release the player’s name but said he expects him to arrive in Chicago next week.
“If anything, it’s exciting,” Rolfe said. “Hopefully, we do bring in another guy that’s going to help the team. I think that’s something that’s always important for any team, any organization — bring in talent and make things competitive.”
Leon said the Fire (7-9-3, 24 points) is also looking to loan disgruntled striker Sherjill MacDonald, who is the team’s highest-paid player and occupies a designated-player spot. MacDonald has fallen out of favor and hasn’t started since April 27. Loaning him to another team would provide cap relief.
Regardless of any upcoming moves, the effort against D.C. United was a clear indication that the Fire has finally developed some chemistry.
Rolfe’s goals came in the second minute and first-half stoppage time. Joel Lindpere, who assisted on both Rolfe goals, scored in the 11th minute. Mike Magee scored on a penalty kick in the 56th minute off a foul drawn by 47th-minute substitute Quincy Amarikwa.
“It’s important that when you bring a guy in, that he fits in with the group, that he can adapt quickly, and it’s all about the team,” Fire coach Frank Klopas said. “That player has to realize that he has to sacrifice and do everything he can for the team.”