Two teams right in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt go head to head in this crucial encounter at Toyota Park.When it comes to the race for the Eastern Conference's final playoff bids, few matches - if any - will be more influential than Saturday's clash between the Chicago Fire and New England Revolution.
Chicago (10-11-6) finds itself one point behind New England (10-10-7) for the fifth and final postseason position. Winless in three, the Fire can end that skid and pass the Revolution if they take care of business from the comforts of Toyota Park.
The Fire are fresh off a midweek draw at lowly Toronto, a point on the road that came with some disappointment as Chicago squandered a lead against one of the league's worst teams. After missing Arevalo Rios and Joel Lindpere due to international duty in that one, the Fire should have the midfielders back for Saturday's contest.
New England, meanwhile, is hoping to have striker Juan Agudelo play at least some role as he works his way back from a hamstring injury, and Bobby Shuttleworth figures to step back in between the posts with veteran Matt Reis suspended.
For Chicago fullbacks Gonzalo Segares and Jalil Anibaba, the task will be tough as they attempt to track the in-cutting runs of breakout Revolution star Diego Fagundez (10 goals, six assists).