Growing up, Chicago Fire forward Chris Rolfe was never the biggest player on the field.
Because he couldn’t always muscle by defenders, the Kettering, Ohio, native worked on shooting quickly, surprising opposing defenses and not allowing them time to get near him.
“It’s just trying to push myself to do it a little bit quicker, a little bit quicker,” Rolfe told MLSsoccer.com. “If I can get the shot off quicker, the better it is for me, and the more opportunities I get that way.”
In the Fire’s 1-1 tie in San Jose on Saturday, that work paid off.
WATCH: Rolfe floats it over Busch
In the 36th minute, Rolfe collected a pass from Patrick Nyarko just outside the penalty area, turned and saw a few yards of space in front of him.
He knew that small amount of time was all he needed, so he took a step and hit a shot with the outside of his foot, which curled over goalkeeper Jon Busch’s head to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.
“I looked up and I saw a gap between the guy who first stepped to me,” Rolfe said. “At that moment, that was the moment for me to put it in the corner, and I thought I’d give it a shot and luckily it worked.”
MacDonald makes his debut
After joining the Fire early this week, Dutch forward Sherjill MacDonald made his debut on Saturday, coming on in the 65th minute to replace forward Dominic Oduro.
After trialing with Chicago a month ago, MacDonald trained for two weeks with a personal trainer while waiting for his visa. The Dutch forward almost had an assist, springing midfielder Logan Pause through on a breakaway in the 79th minute before Pause’s shot was saved by Busch.
“It was a little difficult for me because it was my first game in a long time,” MacDonald said. “It wasn’t so bad, but obviously I can do a lot better and I’m looking forward to the next game.
Fire can’t finish
A goal by Steven Lenhart in the eighth minute of stoppage time was all that kept the Fire from taking three points from the Western Conference leaders.
“We played against the best team, but it hurts the way it ended,” Chicago head coach Frank Klopas said. “The effort was great but we just need to play consistently all the way until the end.”