Apr 16, 2012, 7:15 PM EDT
Why Chris Rolfe didn’t get just a little more U.S. national team attention during his first go-round in MLS was always a bit of head-scratcher in my book. He’s back in the States, re-signing with the Fire on Monday, the last day MLS sides can add international players until July.
Rolfe, 29, spent the last two-play years with Aalborg of the Danish Superliga. The stats say he was a quality attacker previously at Toyota Park, contributing 40 goals and 20 assists in 149 matches across all competitions.
What the numbers aren’t telling about the Ohio native:
He never really quite settled into a position previously for the Fire, sometimes used in midfield and sometimes as a striker. Determined and blessed with a high work rate, he could be useful in the midfield, even though he was probably a better striker.
So, Rolfe’s versatility can be a real asset – even if that helps answer my question about his relative lack of national team appearances (just 10, the last in 2008). Never really settling into a position inhibits growth at any one of them.
Here’s the bigger thing to know about Rolfe: he’s mighty streaky, but when he does get on a run the man can be utterly devastating.
Rolfe was off and flying in 2007, for instance, with a goal or an assist in each of Chicago’s first six matches before a long-term injury undercut his momentum.
He came roaring back later in the year, in strong form as the Fire advanced into the Eastern Conference championship.
In 2008, a big push from Rolfe helped Chicago go surging into the playoffs with bags full of momentum. He hit for five goals and three assists over the Fire’s final five regular season contests, then supplied a goal and an assist in the return leg of Chicago’s playoff series win against New England.
The knock against Rolfe is his tendency to be nicked by injury; one such setback hurt Rolfe straight-away as he attempted to establish himself early in 2010 with Aalborg.
Jul 31, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT
Toe injury to sideline the U.S. international for an estimated 10 games.
Jul 31, 2014, 6:31 PM EDT
No. 1: Eddie Johnson. No. 2: These new-fangled rules.
Jul 31, 2014, 6:02 PM EDT
Young Americans set to blaze trail in La Liga academies.
Jul 31, 2014, 5:39 PM EDT
San Lorenzo is in Copa’s finals, but Piatti is unlikely to join them.
Jul 31, 2014, 5:14 PM EDT
Two players who spent plenty of time on the sidelines last season are pushing to be integral parts of Manuel Pellegrini’s plans.
Jul 31, 2014, 4:42 PM EDT
29-year-old Argentina arrives from Tigre, becoming the club’s third Designated Player of all-time.
Jul 31, 2014, 4:10 PM EDT
Everton’s frugality gave way to necessity. Is Lukaku worth it the serious cash they splashed?
Jul 31, 2014, 3:21 PM EDT
Remember when Marco Reus, Dries Mertens and Leighton Baines solidified Manchester United’s status in Europe? Us neither.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:56 PM EDT
Cristiano Ronaldo and Christopher Renzi are looking horns over the CR7 trademark.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT
Guillermo Ochoa starred in the 2014 World Cup for Mexico, and now will try to fill Willy Caballero’s shoes at Malaga.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT
As deadly virus continues to spread, the Seychelles refuse to let Sierra Leone travel for qualifier.
Jul 31, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT
Seydou Keita has left Barcelona, but being in a different league has not stopped the animosity between the AS Roma midfielder and Real Madrid’s Pepe.
Jul 31, 2014, 1:27 PM EDT
Gerrard: “With all due respect to them, I said to Suarez that he was too good for Arsenal.”
Jul 31, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT
Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said several Premier League teams had interest in 19-year-old American striker Julian Green.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:26 PM EDT
Ching said his former USMNT teammate needs incentive-laden contracts to thrive, while Johnson claims Ching is jealous.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:42 AM EDT
Jermaine Jones is not the only US midfielder rumored to come home, while two Red Devils are tipped for Madrid.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:52 AM EDT
An altercation between a player and referee in a men’s league game left the official dead. What followed has been anything but pretty.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:03 AM EDT
The World Cup praise has been flowing for Klinsmann in international circles, though American analysts like Alexi Lalas, Eric Wynalda and others have condemned the manager’s approach as too cautious.
Jul 31, 2014, 9:03 AM EDT
Neymar’s health could be the key to whether Barcelona can weather the Luis Suarez suspension in pursuit of La Liga’s title.
Jul 31, 2014, 8:20 AM EDT
The Red Devils’ owners are making more of the club public following the death of patriarch Malcolm, and the club could lose adidas money if on-field success doesn’t return.
- Matías Pérez García announced, becomes third Designated Player in San Jose history 0
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- Simeone praises Klinsmann’s US program that “seduces us as coaches” 2
- Neymar’s recovery from World Cup back injury “almost 100 percent” 0
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- Atlético Madrid latest club linked with Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández 4