But the Chicago Fire forwards don't seem worried about production on either end of the field after a team meeting last week, days before Sunday's 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls restored confidence and optimism, players say.
“Guys are happy, coaches are happy, that's the environment we want to be in,” Rolfe told MLSsoccer.com. “Whether I'm scoring or Mac is scoring, or Daniel [Paladini]'s scoring, we don't care. As long as, as a team, we're feeling better, having fun, we're happy.”
The meeting was prompted by an 0-3-1 start to the season, after which negativity began to seep into the locker room. Players, coaches and front office members aired their grievances and expressed their confidence in the group.
“We just talked about the state of things and it was really about how we still have confidence in each other,” center back Austin Berry told MLSsoccer.com. “To hear that from coaches and some guys higher up in the front office, it kind of helped get something off of our shoulders.”
And things changed.
Players say there was an optimistic feeling around the club. There was more intensity in training and more humor in the locker room. All of a sudden, the Fire were loose, and they think that made all the difference on Sunday, when they pulled out a win after facing some adversity early.
The Fire have a long way to go, and there are still questions as to whether they have a forward who can consistently put the ball in the back of the net. But as they prepare to head to Houston to take on the Dynamo on Sunday, the Fire are confident they're ready to play to their potential.
“Everything came back to normal,” midfielder Patrick Nyarko told MLSsoccer.com. “Guys were excited about training. You could see guys that don't play often, they were buzzing … It was almost automatic, you didn't have to give them any extra motivation or extra confidence, they already had that just because of the week of training we had.”