Oct 7, 2012, 8:56 AM EST
The two men doing the most to carry their team’s offense right aren’t among the usual suspects.
Both are terrific attackers, but won’t be counted not among list of true marquee men in MLS.
In Chicago, Chris Rolfe has become the difference between winning and losing. He couldn’t get a grip on the game two weeks ago in the Fire’s 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City. A few days later, more or less the same story in a surprising 3-1 loss at home to Philadelphia.
But there was Rolfe yesterday, running at Chicago Fire counterattack in the 2-0 win. Rolfe was in on both goals yesterday (although he had an official assist on just one of them).
Before that tough night in Kansas City, it was Rolfe carrying more than his share of the attacking burden. He had seven goals in nine matches as the Fire rose from mid-pack side to one capable of kicking up a real fuss come playoff time.
Rolfe, now working behind striker Sherjill MacDonald in the Fire’s 4-2-3-1, was like this before at Toyota Park, streaky to the highest order. These periodic high-velocity, highly effective dashes are among the reasons Rolfe attracted attention out of Europe in the first place. (The Ohio native spent a little more than two years in Denmark.)
Arne Friedrich and Austin Berry represent a strong central defensive combo, as we saw yesterday in stifling New York (just one shot on goal) in Harrison, N.J.
But if we examine the attack, the Fire has a collection of good-not-great figures beyond Rolfe. So, the 29-year-old’s ability to maintain this peppy form will be the difference for Chicago in the playoffs.
As for the other “top man, but not a marquee man,” check back in a little while …
- NWSL: Houston becomes second MLS franchise to place team in women’s professional league 0
- MLS Re-Entry Draft: As predicted, Portland find a way to get Steve Zakuani 3
- Early approval: Klinsmann extends contract, will serve as U.S. head coach, technical director through 2018 3
- MLS announces Bayern Munich as opponent for 2014 All-Star Game in Portland 4
- WATCH: Can Tottenham stop Luis Suarez and can City beat Arsenal? 0
- UK Twitter chat in 2013 dominated by soccer. Good thing or bad thing? 2
- 2014 World Cup Draw: Recapping the event (43)
- 2014 World Cup Draw: USA in Group of Death with Germany, Portugal, Ghana – Schedule, times, venues (34)
- Now that we know the U.S. opponents, which 23 players should Jurgen Klinsmann bring to Brazil? (21)
- Sporting Kansas City crowned 2013 MLS champions after 10 rounds of penalty kicks (16)
- U.S. national team discussion: The Alejandro Bedoya conundrum (14)
- Giovani: "We Were Over Criticized"
- Watch Out Netherlands! Chile-Clan Ain't Nothin' to Mess With!
- Messi on Safe Track to Full Recovery
- The Argentinian Armada, Favorites for Brazil 2014
- Brazil 2014: A Look At South America
- Arena de Amazonia: Host of USA vs CR7
- USA Will Advance in Brazil
- You Can't Beat German Sachlichkeit
- Group B: No Walk In The Park
- Analyzing The Draw From An Azzurri Viewpoint