FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Chris Rolfe’s stat line told the story on Saturday night.
Zero goals. Zero assists. Zero shots on target.
The veteran forward has been fantastic in his return to the Chicago Fire this season, racking up a team-leading eight goals and adding three assists as the catalyst for the playoff-bound club’s high-powered attack.
Knowing Rolfe is the conduit, the Revs set out with the primary objective of stifling the dynamic Fire attacker. They did just that in an inspired defensive performance, allowing just one weak Patrick Nyarko shot on target and making Diego Fagundez’s early goal stand up in a 1-0 win in the home finale.
“Basically, we tried to take Chris Rolfe out of the game,” said Clyde Simms, who shouldered much of those duties and put in a stellar 90-minute shift. “He’s been the key in the last couple of games we’ve watched from them. He’s going forward and he finds really good spots when they cause turnovers. He’s the first one to get the outlet ball and he’s gone.
“The most important thing was to know where he was at all times, even when we had possession. It was definitely a little drain mentally after that one, but (center backs) Darrius (Barnes) and A.J. (Soares) helped me out a ton. They were in my ear the entire game and that makes it so much easier for me.”
Simms also lauded the contributions of fellow central midfielders Blair Gavin and Kelyn Rowe, who joined Simms in a central midfield triangle. Gavin – making his Revolution debut after arriving in New England in exchange for Shalrie Joseph on Aug. 1 – was a workhorse on both sides of the ball, while Rowe penetrated offensively and helped set up Fagundez’s game winner.
Head coach Jay Heaps also had praise for his central midfield trio, but reserved specific plaudits for the yeoman’s work put in by Simms as he tracked Rolfe from kickoff to the final whistle.
“I think that Clyde did an amazing job,” said Heaps. “He had a quiet night, Clyde did, but when you go back and look – I implore all of you to go back and look – the work Clyde put in tonight, wherever Chris Rolfe was, Clyde was there. In the first half it really paid off because we were able to take advantage.”