BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of Chris Rolfe’s whirlwind return to the Chicago Fire.
If you’re a Fire fan, you remember it well. It was the day after an anticlimactic, weather-shortened 1-1 home draw with Houston. Questions about what would have happened had the game gone the full 90 minutes were a popular topic into the early afternoon.
Then a tweet and an exclusive article from a blog called Wrong Side of the Pond said that a certain American striker, based in Denmark for the previous two-and-a-half years, was on the move.
READ: Tweets around Chris Rolfe's Return
The news quickly spread in Chicago as Rolfe’s name began trending on Twitter in the Windy City, the chaos all occurring when Rolfe was still on an airplane bound for O’Hare Airport.
After clearing customs, the second-leading goal scorer in club history was met by a sea of Fire supporters.
“That’s a day I look back on and it just brings a smile to my face,” Rolfe told Chicago-Fire.com. “It was really the whole surprise of the whole situation and how quickly things moved.
WATCH: Rolfe equalizes in the 29th minute
“Coming back into the city, the supporters being at the airport, the weather was fantastic. Everything seemed to fall into place that day and it was a really great memory for me.”
Though a training injury would keep him from making his re-debut for approximately six weeks, Rolfe went on to lead the side with eight goals and earned the club’s Most Valuable Player award.
This week’s anniversary was perhaps a little bittersweet for him though.
The 30-year-old Fire striker ended his career-tying 10-match goal-less drought with a fancy finish in the 29th minute of Sunday’s game at Houston. The goal however, wasn’t enough in the 2-1 defeat.
“It felt great to get the first one of the year and tie the game back up but the disappointment was that we thought we could use that goal to get points and it didn’t quite turn out that way.”
Things looked good for at least a draw until Brad Davis’ 81st minute cross turned shot found its way inside the left post. Still, Rolfe says the team took positives from the match.
“I think we still played well as a team. We continue to get better now and that’s the thing that for me will relieve some of the anxiety and stress that we had on ourselves.”
Rolfe, who hails from Kettering, Ohio, will hope to add to his 2013 account and potentially tally his 50th competitive goal against all-competitions when the Fire welcome his ‘hometown’ Columbus Crew to Toyota Park.
“We’re looking forward to getting back out there this weekend and build on the last two games we’ve had.
“What better team to do it against than Columbus? It’s a team that I enjoy playing against. I know my friends and family pay a little more attention to this game when it comes around.
It always creates a little more environment for me and hopefully we can take advantage of the home field and get three points.”