Category Archives: Team Updates

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MLS Cup – Toronto FC vs Seattle Sounders

Jennifer Denton - Seattle Sounders/mlsfemale
Official Sounders Reporter

By Jennifer Denton // @darkwynds

Here we are, the eve of the MLS Cup for 2017.  This year has been full of ups and downs.  Through it all, the Seattle Sounders have become stronger than they were last year.  It hasn’t been without injury and issues, but the team has risen above and made it to the promised land.

Last year was so special because it was our first.  I think this year can be even more special because we have the chance to repeat as the MLS champions.  Through the playoffs, the Sounders have defeated both the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Houston Dynamo, both in convincing fashion.

Again, the Sounders find themselves facing Toronto FC at BMO Field on what proves to be a very cold day.  Hundreds of supporters are making their way to Toronto.  There is a banner going that has the names of people who could not make this trip.  We are a family.  We will be in the stadium, in pubs, in bars, and in our homes, all over the world cheering our boys to victory.  This is our cup, and we will defend it.

This game will not be like last year.  Both teams have improved.  Both are stronger, faster but just as hungry as they were last year.  TFC still has the bitter taste of last year’s loss, during penalty kicks, in their mouths.  Seattle wants to cement our dynasty.  Seattle has added a number of players who have made a huge difference in the team’s play.

Both teams have injuries issues, with the Sounders being slightly worse.  At this time, Jozy Altidore is questionable with an ankle injury suffered late in the second leg of the Columbus Crew game.  Seattle will be missing Brad Evans and Ozzie Alonso.

Ozzie being out of the game hurts.  He is our captain and the heart.  Seattle will have Roman Torres back from suspension.  Jordan Morris is also at 100% and should feature.  No one is suspended for this game, and no one is on international duty.

Projected Lineups from mlssoccer.com

Seattle Sounders

(4-2-3-1, left to right)
GK: Stefan Frei – Nouhou, Chad Marshall, Roman Torres, Kelvin Leerdam – Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan – Joevin Jones, Clint Dempsey, Nicolas Lodeiro – Will Bruin

Toronto FC

(3-5-2, left to right)
GK: Alex Bono – Chris Mavinga, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta – Justin Morrow, Marky Delgado, Michael Bradley, Victor Vazquez, Steven Beitashour – Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore

Referees

Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Adam Wienckowski, Jeremy Hanson

4th Official: Kevin Stott

5th Official: Jason White

Video Assistant Referee (VAR): Dave Gantar

Game is December 9th at 1pm PT / 4pm ET on ESPN

#DEFENDOURCUP

Featured image courtesy: @SoundersFC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @darkwynds

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

MVP is Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers

Sheba Rawson - Portland Timbers/mlsfemale
Official Timbers Reporter

By Sheba Rawson // @shebainpdx

It is official: Diego Valeri is the 2017 recipient of MLS’s Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player Award.

An amazing combination of ruthless accuracy on the pitch and self-effacing modesty pretty much everywhere else, Portland Timbers’ midfielder and playmaker Diego Valeri is this year’s runaway selection for most valuable player by every measure and constituent group that has an actual vote. Players, clubs, and media folk all overwhelmingly declared Valeri their favorite.

Want to know how not close it was? He received over 45% of all player votes among the top eight MVP candidates. The second place vote-getter from players was a not-too-shabby guy you may have heard of, New York City FC’s David “El Guaje” Villa, whose player vote totals had him a distant second at a little more than 9.5%.

Those two dozen or so of us Timbers Army members who were fortunate enough to be present at the press conference/announcement at Adidas headquarters today knew that we were witness to a rare moment honoring an even rarer player and person. As supporters, we often cite “Team/Town/Timbers Army” as the three cornerstones that drive our passion. And here, in front of us, was a player who shattered team records in the regular season; who chose to wear a Timbers Army pin on his lapel during the press conference; and who then chose to spend the evening following the ceremony volunteering in the community. Team/Town/Timbers Army, indeed.

It is so much to take in at once: a breakout season in 2013 and MLS Newcomer of the Year; a devastating ACL injury at the end of the 2014 season; an amazing comeback and improbable 2015 MLS Cup run, punctuated by scoring the fastest goal in MLS Cup history only 27 seconds into the match; an historic 2017 personal best season, with an MLS-record-setting streak of 9 consecutive games with goals scored;  a total of 21 goals and 11 assists in the regular season capped by the best regular season record in the Western Conference; and a club-record 58 goals across all eras (from NASL through USL and MLS).

Combine this unparalleled on-field success with the most humble, giving person off the pitch–it can be a bit overwhelming. It’s even more unbelievable when you realize that Valeri’s move to Portland wasn’t even the team’s original plan, and that it almost didn’t happen.

It is common knowledge locally, but for those who don’t follow Portland closely, you might not realize that Valeri was actually the club’s Plan B for a playmaker in the midfield. After an abysmal 2012 that included a mid-season coach firing and a “walk of shame” banner dutifully paraded by players after the last home game of a disappointing season, the Timbers were desperate to make big changes on the field in 2013.

They were looking for a creative midfielder, somebody who could produce scoring chances for himself and for his teammates, and they thought they had found one in USMNT midfielder Mix Diskerud. Early rumors in the offseason had us signing Mix. It was so close to a done deal that, by the 13th of December or thereabouts, some of us discovered that the front office had even gone so far as to set up his player page on the team website, if one knew where to look. But within a week, the deal seemed to have evaporated, and suddenly we found ourselves scouring Argentine fan blogs in hopes of learning something more about some rumored midfielder whose nickname was basically Argentine for “Peach Fuzz.”

We’ll still never know for certain exactly why the Diskerud deal fell through. Some speculated there were issues in working with his agent/father. There were other indications that perhaps the sticking point was the curious nature of MLS, where a player technically signs with the single-entity league and not actually with the club for whom he plays. Maybe there was some other factor involved that we on the outside never discovered. Regardless, the non-deal with Mix set the stage for signing Valeri; and the rest, as they say, is history.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the Portland metro area have been witness to his grace on the field, his ability to constantly think three passes ahead, his clear knowledge of where all of his teammates are and where they are likely to be next, his keen eye for that one corner of the net that will be hardest to guard in the next instant. We also know of his amazing heart, his gracious gifts of both time and memorabilia in the community.

Most of us could write 10,000 words about his generosity off the pitch and it would still fall short. The closest I can come to capturing his ethos on the field and in the world around him can be found on his wall at home, shown here with his daughter, Connie:

Work hard and be nice to people, indeed. Well done, Diego. You are our MVP. I don’t know what we did to deserve you, but we will always and forever be blessed that you came to Portland.

Featured image courtesy: @TimbersFC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @shebainpdx

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Defy Expectations – Orlando City SC

Shae Beaudoin - Orlando City/mlsfemale
Official Orlando City Reporter

By Shae Beaudoin // @ShaeEliz

Introduction time! I’m Shae (Shy-Aye, not Shea) and I am so excited to be the new Orlando City Official Reporter for MLSFemale!

Soccer has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I played defense from youth through high school until a foot injury ended that dream for me, so then I started following the pros (and some not so pros – Go UVA Cavs!). For the longest, I only paid attention to overseas, Real Madrid specifically and the World Cup teams. Then Orlando joined the MLS and I jumped in head first and never looked back.

It was kind of like fate. My favorite color has always been purple and, despite growing up in New York, I knew from age 15 I wanted to be in Orlando. When I moved in 2013, I fell in love with the city. And then I found out about Orlando City, who just so happened to be purple (which is not your typical jersey color). It struck me as my time to get involved with MLS.

I’ve been a diehard ever since, attending as many home games as physically possible. I’ve been known to scour Central Florida for a place to watch away games. I even celebrated my birthday last year out in Las Vegas and went searching for anywhere that would let me watch an out of market game. (We lost 4-0 to Houston but hey).

That’s just a quick intro to me! I look forward to sharing Orlando City news with you all and making new connections! I can be found on pretty much any social media network at @shaeeliz. Come by and say hey!

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @ShaeEliz

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Seattle Sounders v Houston Dynamo Second Leg – Western Conference Finals

Jennifer Denton - Seattle Sounders/mlsfemale
Official Sounders Reporter

By Jennifer Denton // @darkwynds

Seattle Sounders v Houston Dynamo

Tonight is the night.  The Seattle Sounders are playing for a spot in the MLS Cup finals to face Toronto FC.  Currently, the Sounders are up 2 goals to 0.  This is huge for us.

Tonight’s game is not a cake walk though.  Due to yellow card acclamation, the Sounders will be missing Roman Torres.  Hopefully, this will not throw off the backline too much.  Most likely Tony Alfaro will replace him tonight, but it is very hard to replace Torres.

While we won’t have Torres, there is a good chance we will have Stefan Frei (hamstring), Osvaldo Alonso (quad strain) and Jordan Morris (hamstring) all back from injury.  Mostly likely Frei will start but Alonso and Morris will come off the bench.  Although after the practice yesterday, Brian Schmetzer said that Morris could start.

Houston Dynamo, on the other hand, has some problems.  Both Jalil Anibaba (red card) and striker Alberth Elis (yellow card accumulation) will be suspended for this game.  With Elis’s suspension, Houston will have to look for goals from Mauro Manotas and Erick Torres.

The Sounders have only lost once at home this regular season.  The projected crowd tonight could be close to or over 50k.  Tonight is going to be loud and amazing.  Even with a 2 goal lead, I think most, if not all, the Sounders fans are very nervous for tonight.

Here is the projected lineup per mlssoccer.com:

(4-2-3-1, left to right)
GK: Stefan Frei – Nouhou Tolo, Chad Marshall, Tony Alfaro, Kelvin Leerdam – Gustav Svensson, Cristian RoldanJoevin Jones, Clint Dempsey, Nicolas Lodeiro  – Will Bruin

Officials

Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Peter Balciunas, Corey Parker
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
Video Assistant Referee (VAR): Edvin Jurisevic

The game is at 7:30pm Pacific Time on ESPN, ESPN Deportes in the US and TSN1 & TVAS 2 in Canada.

#DEFENDOURCUP

Featured image courtesy: @SoundersFC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @darkwynds

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

 

ATLUTD’s Best Season Ever

Robyn Saghini - Atlanta United FC/mlsfemale
Official Atlanta United Reporter

By Robyn Saghini // @robynsaghini

The inaugural season for Atlanta United was full of highs and lows. Highs like going undefeated against Orlando City SC (we are the #KingsOfTheSouth, after all) and drawing against both the first and second place teams from 2016 – twice against Toronto FC, thank you very much. Lows like losing all three games against DC United and Josef Martinez and Miguel Almirón getting injured.

Still, so many good things happened this year. First of all, WE HAVE A TEAM! And they did very well when no one really expected them to.  They were the only expansion team to have made the playoffs in their first season since Seattle Sounders did in 2009. The 70 goals they scored this year is the second most in MLS this season and the highest ever for an expansion team. The +30 goal differential is also the highest for an expansion team and fourth in MLS this year.

The defense did some really good work this year as well. Alec Kann and Brad Guzan had a total of 12 clean sheets this season.  MLS newbie Leandro González Pirez and veteran Michael Parkhurst teamed up in the back to become a formidable defensive presence. In the few games LGP didn’t play, it was definitely noticeable.

For all of the complaining about the team’s name in the last two years, it really has become very appropriate. This team really did unite this city like nothing has ever done before. Atlanta United supporters broke the single game attendance record – TWICE in five weeks – and then broke the playoff attendance record. ATLUTD supporters also had the highest average attendance for the regular season, with an average of just over 48,000.

ATLUTD is racking up the awards this post-season. Julian Gressel ran away with the Rookie of the Year award and Miguel Almirón won Newcomer of the Year. Both Goal of the Year (Tito Villalba’s rocket vs Orlando) and Save of the Year (Brad Guzan vs NYRB) were both awarded to ATLUTD, proving once again that #ATLWinsTheInternet.

In addition to those awards, three of the 24 Players Under 24 were from Atlanta (Villalba, Asad, and Almirón, who was #1), and five of the top selling jerseys in MLS were Atlanta players. We also have two players up for MVP (Almirón and Martinez) and coach Tata Martino is up for coach of the year.

After all of the successes in 2017, what do Atlanta supporters have to look forward to in 2018? For one, a team that’s been together for a year and knows each other pretty well now. Despite some post season roster moves and a few players who’s futures are up in the air (at least to the general public right now), Atlanta United have a solid core and any offseason moves will likely only enhance that.

Second, we’re getting a USL team! It was announced recently that Atlanta United will kick off a USL team in 2018 and they’ll play in Gwinnett County, about 35 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. In a baseball stadium (*sigh*) with a little over 10,000 seats. Word is that they will eventually play at the ATLUTD training ground, but right now, the show pitch there only seats 2,500 and the USL minimum is 5,000.

The USL team is exciting because we have three new homegrown players being added to the roster next year and this will be our chance to really see them play. The new homegrowns will join U-17 National Team standouts Andrew Carleton (who saw a few minutes with the first team earlier in 2017) and Chris Goslin.

Third, now that we’ve moved into the Benz, we won’t have to worry about crazy schedules with 8 games in 24 days or months without a home game. Plus, we’re hosting the 2018 MLS All-Star Game!

While 2017 was tremendous for us here in the ATL, 2018 promises to be even better. And we’ll be there, rowdy & proud as ever.

Featured image courtesy: atlutd.com

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @robynsaghini

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Sounders Finally Won in Houston

Abigail Gerken - USWNT/mlsfemale
Sounders Key Contributor

By Abigail Gerken // @abigailgerken22

Jingle bells, Jingle bells.
Jingle all the way.
Oh what fun it is to see,
Seattle win away!
Is it a little early for Christmas music? Maybe. Is this song totally appropriate? Yes.

The Seattle Sounders took a 2-0 win in Houston in the first leg of the Western Conference Final. It was a very chippy game with many cards and fouls, but Seattle ended up on top.

The first goal came in the 11th minute when Gustav Svensson headed home a Nicolas Lodeiro corner kick. That was the 2nd goal of the season for the Swedish international.

In the 27th minute the game went downhill for Houston. Defender Jalil Anibaba took Joevin Jones down in the box resulting in a DOGSO (Denial of an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity) red card and penalty kick. Lodeiro went up to take the kick, but goalkeeper Joe Willis guessed correctly and saved it.

However, in the 43rd minute Will Bruin doubled the lead and scored a header goal (assisted by Joevin Jones).

Fun facts about this match:
Will Bruin scored against his former team of 6 years. His 2nd time this year.
Clint Dempsey grew up about 2 hours north of Houston, so a lot of his family and friends were at this game.
Roman Torres will miss the next match because of yellow card accumulation.
We saw two former Sounders on the field with Dylan Remick and Jalil Anibaba playing.

Prior to this match, the Sounders were 0-4-4 in Houston, making this their first win in Houston.

The Sounders are heading into the second leg of the Western Conference Final with a 2-0 lead. The next game will be in Seattle on November 30th, the winner on aggregate after the 2nd leg will advance to the MLS Cup Final on December 9th.

Featured image courtesy: @SoundersFC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @abigailgerken22

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

New York Red Bulls: Bridesmaid Revisited

Sylvana Budesheim - NY Red Bulls/mlsfemale
Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Sunday, November 5th: 0-1 Win (2-2 agg.) Toronto FC advances by away goal rule

I should be apologizing for taking so long to write this.

I should apologize for the fact that this post won’t have the musical theme that has really become my schtick over the course of the season.

I  might even apologize for the fact that the title of this post, a send-up to a major piece of English literature, has also been used by a bunch of crappy TV series as an episode title over the years.

But I’m not here to apologize. I’m here to offer some closure. To give the season post-mortem. To talk about where the team goes from here.

So. 22 seasons. No MLS Cup. No Open Cup. No CONCACAF Champions League Cup. No Supporters Shield this time. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

The game was terrible and wonderful, just as the 1st leg had been. There were fouls and fights. The 2nd half saw the team without their captain. Goal scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips answered the call and put the ball in the net (54′, assisted by Danny Royer). But RBNY needed one more to advance past the Reds, and they just couldn’t find it. As dominant as they had been, and as much of a fight as they had shown (in more ways than one), RBNY just couldn’t continue their run.

TFCvRBNY

Winning, Drawing, and Losing all at once is probably the most Metro thing that could have happened.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad run, was it? The team faltered– a lot– during the regular season. Injuries destroyed their depth. The team lacked cohesiveness and determination too often to make a difference when it counted. So, to turn it around by the end of the regular season and put up as much of a fight as they did… I’m still disappointed, of course. But it could have been worse.

Now what? Part of the reason I haven’t been able to finish this article is that business seems so unfinished. I couldn’t attend the final Media Day of the season. And now come the rumors. Who will leave? Who will stay? Do the players even know where they stand with the team?

Right out of the gate came the report that both Los Angeles-based teams are showing interest in Sacha Kljestan for next season. Phenom Tyler Adams is getting much more attention since his Senior Team USMNT debut in a friendly against Portugal, to the point where some are wondering if he’ll get picked up somewhere in Europe before the new season begins. Can Mike Grella and Aurelien Collin make their comebacks following injury? And most recently came the whispers that Gideon Baah and Damien Perrinelle are not going to have their contracts renewed. (However: this news is quickly followed by the rumor that Perrinelle will stay on as a scout for the club. This would not surprise me in the least. I’ve spoken to the French international and it is clear that soccer is in his blood. A front office position like that is an amazing opportunity to stay in the game.)

And don’t cry for me, Red Bulls nation. I’m going to dig into the rumors as much as I can, as well as cover the USSF presidential election coming up in February. I’ll be freezing my butt off in historic Red Bull Arena before you know it.

In the meantime, #SaveTheCrew. Enjoy the rest of the Playoffs.

Featured image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @whitezinwench

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Western Conference Finals Leg 1 for Seattle Sounders

Jennifer Denton - Seattle Sounders/mlsfemale
Official Sounders Reporter

By Jennifer Denton // @darkwynds

Houston Dynamo v Seattle Sounders

Tonight is the first leg of the Western Conference finals.  Of course, it has been what seems like a million years since the last playoff game against Vancouver Whitecaps.  This has been a welcome rest and a terrible one all at the same time.  It has given us time for our injured players to heal up.  Looks like Osvaldo Alonso and Jordan Morris might be able to make it back for part of the series.  Of course, this has given time for Houston’s players to heal up too.  The downside is that we have lost all the momentum we had coming off the Vancouver series.

During the regular season, Houston and Seattle split the series.  Sounders lost in Houston and won at home.  The game in Houston saw the return of Clint Dempsey. He scored in a 2-1 road loss that opened the Sounders title defense.  The Sounders still have not won a game in BBVA Compass Stadium.  The game in Seattle was a different story.  Will Bruin scored the only goal in a 1 – 0 win in June.

Houston is down a goalkeeper due to being suspended for off the field issues.  Also, three of their players were part of the Honduras National Team that made the trip to Australia for a World Cup playoff game.  Sounders just had Gustav Svensson go off for national team duty, traveling to Italy for a World Cup playoff game.

This promises to be a good game.  Houston and Seattle match up well in most positions on the field.  The Sounders will need to play up-tempo and keep the ball moving.  Sounders have players that are hungry to score.  Bruin wants very much to score on his old team.  Look for him and Dempsey to cause Houston a lot of trouble.

The game will kick off at 6:30 pacific time (most likely later due to national broadcast) at BBVA Compass Stadium.  The game will be broadcast on FS1 and Fox Deportes.  Ref for tonight is Chris Penso.

#defendourcup

Featured image courtesy: @SoundersFC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @darkwynds

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

How I grew to embrace the ISC Wooden Spoon, but I am so happy to see it go. Congrats, LA!

Nicole Hack - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Official Chicago Fire Reporter

By Nicole Hack // @nikhak

Have you heard of the ISC (Independent Supporters’ Council) Wooden Spoon? Unfortunately, I’m all too familiar.

After attending Chicago Fire games regularly since 2004, in 2015, I decided to take the plunge and run for the Director of Communications position for Section 8 Chicago (S8C); I ended up holding the position for two years. As luck may have it, those two years (2015-16) the Chicago Fire was the worst team in the league. Yep, both years. Bottom. Of. The. Table.

As a board member for S8C, my daily routine consisted of producing social media content that would encourage support of the team. A goal of ours was to stress the importance of getting into the stadium early to cheer on the Fire (#FirstInLastOut), and of course, we also wanted to expand our supporters’ community.

It was a challenge to get regular, long-time supporters to games, let alone new fans.  “Hey, come to a Fire game, statistically, it’s unlikely that they’ll win.” It was a melancholy time for me. Fans argued. Stands were empty. Supporters’ culture faded. Two years in a row, the Chicago Fire finished in last-place earning them the honors of the ISC Wooden Spoon.

As a supporter, it was frustrating and often heartbreaking to see the decline of the team, but the 2015-16 seasons took suffering to a different level. Somehow, even with love for the Men in Red in my heart, the team grew more agonizing to watch.

So what exactly is the Wooden Spoon that I speak of, and why did I (and other Fire fans) learn to embrace it?

When your team finishes last place in the league two years in a row, you can either sulk endlessly or embrace it. And don’t get me wrong, we did sulk. We cried. We complained. We were bitter. But in the end, we continued to love the Fire, and we even learned to love our wooden spoon too.

The History of the ISC Wooden Spoon

via Daniel Giroux (Vice-Chair of S8C) on October 17, 2017

Conception of the spoon

The spoon was kind of a long term process if you wanna talk about it’s conception. It was first decided at the ISC in Chicago, so January 2016, that there needed to be a league wide trophy to shame the worst team. Since the ISC is the overarching organization that administrates the Supporters Shield it made sense that they will also run the Wooden Spoon. It was decided Section 8 Chicago would make it as we won the wooden spoon that year. Sadly, it would be a long process as we would also win the spoon the following year as well. The reason it was decided this needed to happen is we felt that the league didn’t do enough to punish or shame the failures in the league. Pro/rel does that automatically for most leagues and in most leagues the losing team gets significantly less money. In MLS you are rewarded for failure, at least monetarily by the league. The spoon was our small way of putting pressure on a failing organization.

Trophy design

For some reason it was put on me to make the trophy, with the deadline of having it ready by the next ISC in Atlanta. I definitely stalled on it a bit and we tried many many different designs before we settled on the current iteration. I started work on the final design in November 2016, but I don’t think it was actually finished until the week before the 2017 ISC in late January. It is made of 90% plywood, wood glue, malort and hatred. Seriously, the woodworking is absolutely garbage, but that is kinda the point. I did my worst, in a very literal sense.

Who should win the Wooden Spoon?

Personally, I’m hoping for LA, as this year is already so backwards. That would just be the most backwards thing possible. Also, I want a fanbase that will properly shame their front office with it – that is the whole point. I think D.C. and Colorado will laugh it off and take it in stride. LA would HATE having this thing.

With that said, Congratulations, LA Galaxy and fans. You are now the privileged winners of the ISC Wooden Spoon. Even last-place deserves a trophy.

Featured image courtesy: @nikhak

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @nikhak

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Congratulations to Chris Rolfe: A Chicago Fire favorite retires from professional soccer

Nicole Hack - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Official Chicago Fire Reporter

By Nicole Hack // @nikhak

Today one of my all-time favorite Chicago Fire players, Chris Rolfe, has announced his retirement from professional soccer. By showcasing his passion for the game with his quick-footed talent, he allowed me to love the magic of the beautiful game more than I already did.

In Rolfe’s tenure with MLS, I was able to establish two amusing interactions with him:

2005:

The first time I met Rolfe was at a team Meet & Greet event. I was young (25) and awkward. Rolfe was a rookie and meeting fans was unfamiliar for him. I approached Rolfe not knowing what to say, “You’re my new favorite player.” He responded by staring at me blankly.

2017:

At the Chicago Fire’s 20th Anniversary party this year, I had the opportunity to chat briefly with Chris. I reminded him that he, along with DaMarcus Beasley, are my two favorite Fire players of all-time. I explained that I had finally found my third favorite Fire player, and I asked him to guess who it could be. In less than thirty seconds, he responded, “Michael de Leeuw?” And so, my admiration for Rolfe grew.

Without question, Rolfe has created countless memories with those who knew or supported him during his playing days. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors. He will always have a home in Chicago.

Featured image courtesy: tradingcarddb.com

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @nikhak

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale