In a matchup of two Eastern Conference teams headed in different directions, both sides will be desperate for a victory.The Chicago Fire return from the World Cup break having dropped to the bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference, with Frank Yalop's side sitting on an even 14 points from 14 league matches played. And while the Fire claimed a couple of U.S. Open Cup victories during the club's time off from MLS play, the start of the next phase of the league schedule gets no easier as Toronto FC visits Toyota Park on Wednesday night.
In the past, a visit by TFC would usually mean a win for the Fire. Toronto has not claimed victory at Toyota Park since 2010, but the current Reds' side is riding a five-game MLS unbeaten streak and boasts a conference-best 1.67 points-per-game average.
In contrast, Chicago has played two more games than its Canadian opposition but has collected six fewer points. A league-low two victories has anchored the Fire to the bottom of the standings, and Yallop will need his team to start winning against Eastern opponents sooner than later if it wants to compete for a playoff berth.
It could be a tall order against a TFC side that boasts an in-form Jermain Defoe, who has scored five times in the past five matches. The Englishman has thrust himself into the MLS Golden Boot race despite having missed all of April with a hamstring strain, and he'll be looking to add to his tally against a Fire defense that has conceded 25 times so far this season.