The re-acquisition of Chicago Fire striker Chris Rolfe on Monday was welcome news for most fans. You can hardly go wrong when you return a popular player to the place where he experienced the most success and the Fire have seen a number of cases similar to Rolfe’s return through the years.
Rolfe coming back to Toyota Park is far from being the first instance of a Fire player returning to the club. In the second of this three-part series, I look back on players that have served more than one stint in the Windy City.
Ante Razov – The club’s all-time leading goal scorer, Razov signed with the Fire as a Discovery Player after playing sparingly with the LA Galaxy the prior two seasons. LA’s loss was the Fire’s gain in Razov’s first three seasons in which he tallied 42 goals in 84 matches (averaging a goal every two games). Following a career high 18 goals while helping the Fire to the MLS Cup Final and U.S. Open Cup title during the 2000 season, Razov signed with Spanish Segunda side Racing de Ferrol through the end of the 2000-01 season.
After tallying six goals in 19 appearances with Os Departamentais, Razov returned to the Fire in Summer 2001, scoring two goals in seven matches to close out the season. He found his fourth and fifth double digit goal-scoring seasons, tallying a matching 14 goals in both 2002 and 2003, before closing out his Fire career in 2004 tallying four goals in an injury-shortened campaign. During the offseason, Razov was traded to Columbus in exchange for defender Tony Sanneh.
The fourth all-time leading scorer in MLS history with 114 goals, a majority of Razov’s strikes (76) occurred while he was a member of the Chicago Fire. League-wide, only Jaime Moreno (D.C. United) has more double-digit goal scoring seasons with one club (seven).
"Segares registers two assists in the Capital Comback"
Gonzalo Segares – Selected in the third round of the 2005 MLS SuperDraft, Segares locked down the starting spot at left back just two months into his rookie campaign. A future Costa Rican international with a knack for bombing up the flank, Segares tallied eight goals and seven assists over the course of 108 matches through 2009.
Following a campaign in which the Fire fell in penalty shootouts in both the SuperLiga and Eastern Conference Final, Segares tried his hand in Europe, joining Cypriot club Apollon Limassol at the beginning of 2010. Having appeared in 12 matches for the club, Segares returned to the Fire that August, reclaiming the left back spot before injuries kept him out the last month of the campaign.
The defender bounced back in 2011 to earn a career high 33 regular season appearances and five assists, two of which came in the dramatic Capital Comeback 2-1 victory at D.C. United on October 15. With eight goals and 12 assists, the former Saprissa youth product is the second highest scoring defender in Fire history. With an appearance on Saturday, he’ll move into sole possession of ninth on the club’s all-time MLS appearance list (152), just three behind Razov.
Chris Rolfe – Selected in the third round of the 2005 MLS SuperDraft before signing with the Fire on the same day as Segares (March 28), Rolfe picked up the mantle of consistent goal scoring left in the wake of Razov’s departure, becoming the only rookie in Fire history to lead the side in goals with eight in 2005. Splitting time as a striker and on the right wing through his first five seasons in Chicago, Rolfe would tally a minimum of six goals, many of them spectacular, and twice won the team’s Golden Boot (2005, 2008).
Following the 2009 season, Rolfe, like Segares tried his hand in Europe, signing with Danish side Aalborg BK. While there, he again played both out wide and up top, tallying six goals in 35 appearances before re-signing with the Fire earlier this week.
Rolfe’s return to the Fire should spark some interest in the club’s goal scoring records. Sitting second all-time behind Razov (with 36), Rolfe is likely the only current Fire player capable of catching the club’s all-time leader. With Razov sitting on 76, it will still take a number of spectacular seasons to catch him.
Unfortunately his re-debut with the Fire won’t come on Saturday as an injury suffered in training on Thursday will rule him out of the 18. The injury is not considered serious and Rolfe is being evaluated day-to-day.