With few days left in the year, we here at Chicago-Fire.com thought it appropriate to take a look back on 10 of the Most Memorable of what turned out to be a very successful year.
As it would be difficult to rank all the instances that pulled together a fantastic 15th year, we'll be listing them chronologically over the next two weeks. Some are club-wide and as the Team Writer, others are of a more personal nature but rest assured that all were special.
Yesterday, I looked back on an amazing trip to Montreal for the Fire’s 2012 First Kick match. Today, I recall the quick events that led to the return of an all-time Fire great back in April…
It was April 16, the day after one of the most befuddling experiences of my Fire career. The night before, the team had played to a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo, in a game that was shortened to 66 minutes due severe weather in the area.
The next morning, the rain and result left many a Fire fan feeling soggy from the whole experience but little did they know news of their favorite glove-wearing striker making a Chicago return was about to break…
WATCH: Touchline TV with Chris Rolfe
…and break it did as a blog called “Wrong Side of the Pond” got the exclusive scoop that the club’s second all-time leading goal scorer Chris Rolfe had ended his contract with Danish side Aalborg BK and would re-join the Fire immediately.
As fans took to Twitter to discuss the news, Rolfe sat on an SAS jetliner that was flying over Greenland, unaware of the commotion going on below.
Eventually, the club put out the official press release and chaos ensued as the name “Chris Rolfe” began to trend in Chicago.
Section 8 Chicago got word of his arrival time at O’Hare and a group of about 10 supporters huddled outside customs to greet their returning hero.
No one was more surprised than Rolfe…
“It was a pleasant surprise. By the time I left Denmark we were still hush-hush about me coming back. Obviously when I saw the fans there I knew word had gotten out. I turned my phone on and had a bunch of messages so it was nice to see so many people happy to have me back.”
Coming in fit, Rolfe was ready to go for as many minutes as head coach Frank Klopas would have needed from him in the weekend fixture at Toronto FC but the forward rolled his ankle in just his second practice with team that week.
The injury was originally projected to keep him out less than a month, but ended up pushing his re-debut with the Fire back to a June 2 loss at New England.
Though no one wants to remember that game, it wouldn’t take him much longer to score his first goal, tallying the icing strike in his second game back, a 3-1 win over New York on June 17.
That goal would be the first of eight that led to the Kettering, Ohio product’s third Fire Golden Boot. He would also be named Team MVP and later his second strike on September 22 vs. Columbus was voted by fans as the club’s Goal of the Year.
Not a bad return at all…