Others do the talking for Chris Rolfe ahead of tonight’s Eastern Conference showdown


It seems that Chris Rolfe isn’t very good at talking about himself. That’s according to teammates, who cannot stop talking about how much his game has matured in the two years he spent at Aalborg BK in Denmark.

Fire captain Logan Pause called Rolfe a “humble kid” who is in fantastic form. In the same story, veteran Gonzalo Segares was a little more analytical about Rolfe’s game:

As you get older, you see everything a little bit slower. I think his mobility has improved a lot. He’s more mature with the ball, and with the way he makes runs. … He’s playing at the best level I’ve ever seen him at.”

Rolfe, who has seven goals in the Fire’s last nine matches, gets the chance to perform tonight under the most trying of circumstances. His team will be at Livestrong Sporting Park for the feature match of Round 30, the second-place Fire against first-place Sporting Kansas City (8:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.)

Rolfe and friends still have a game in hand in the standings, so a loss won’t finish off the race. But a draw would be much better for the visitors, keeping things close enough to exploit that extra game.

(MORE: Chris Rolfe is PST Player of the Week)

It will be a terrific test of how much Rolfe’s game really has matured. Because the key for the visitors tonight is dealing with Sporting Kansas City’s pressure. As the orchestrator in the Fire’s 4-2-3-1, he sets the offensive tempo — assuming the Fire defenders and midfielders can break the pressure well enough through their areas to find the offensive fulcrum.

Once Rolfe does get the ball, watch how “vertical” his game has become. That is, there won’t be a lot of side-to-side movement. He’ll look to connect quickly with Dutch forward Sherjill MacDonald ahead of him, or get Patrick Nyarko moving at top speed down the right with something diagonal.