BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. --- It's still early days for the likes of Mike Magee and Bakary Soumare, but if recent results are anything to go by, the Chicago Fire's new acquisitions are paying early dividends.
Both Magee and Soumare - recently acquired from Los Angeles and Philadelphia, respectively - have slotted seamlessly into the Fire as the team picked up 4 points in league play and advanced to the next round of the US Open Cup since the trade for Soumare on May 23.
Sunday's 2-0 win over DC United saw both players make an impact at their respective ends of the pitch.
"Having Baky in the back is someone we can count on, a big presence. He had a great game again today," forward Chris Rolfe told Hot Time in Old Town. "Mike brings some new energy and comes from a winning organization, which always helps. He's a goal-scorer who's shown that the last two games. We're really excited."
Soumare has helped anchor a backline that's kept two consecutive clean sheets, while also providing leadership to Austin Berry and Jalil Anibaba.
"We're getting comfortable with each other, we're getting used to playing with each other so it's been good," Soumare told reporters after the match. I've known Austin [Berry] for a while and I watch a lot of games, so for me it's an easy transition. This is a team that I follow closely so it's been great. I just hope that we can keep it up."
As for Magee, scoring two goals in an as many appearances for the Fire proves his value as an attacker. But it's his leadership - such as directing his fellow attackers when to press and when to drop off - that's earned the most plaudits.
"Mike is such a smart player," Patrick Nyarko said. "Sometimes I catch myself looking at him, his movement and stuff like that as the play develops. It's different. He leads you to the next play. We're not going to jump for joy after one week, but if we can continue from strength to strength, that will be pretty good."
Head coach Frank Klopas offered similar praise in his post-match press conference.
"Look, what can you say? You saw the quality that he has and the leadership he brings on the field," Klopas said of the Chicagoland native. "He's just very smart the way he moves on the field. He wants the ball in difficult spots and he always seems to be in the right moment at the right time. He's a quality a player that's going to make our team better... The more he gets familiarized with the group, it's even going to get better. We're thankful and lucky to have him in our group."
The budding striker partnership between Magee and Rolfe might be something to keep an eye on: In two matches together, they've combined for two goals and an assist, not to mention their genuinely solid link-up play despite limited minutes together.
Nyarko said the similarities between Magee and Rolfe could make a big impact for the Fire.
"Firsthand, I saw when we played the Galaxy what (Magee) and (Robbie) Keane did. It was exceptional," Nyarko said. "That's what he's trying to instill between him and Chris, whoever plays up top. That kind of movement just destroys defenders."