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Game Thread: Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire

Follow along as Toronto FC try to take themselves one huge step closer to their first ever Major League Soccer playoff spot.

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire

2:00 PM Eastern

BMO Field Toronto, ON


Headliner: Don't ignite the fire

In life when someone is down you try to pick them back up, in sports it is quite the opposite. Toronto FC couldn't care less how poor the Fire have been lately, they will want to make sure that bad streak of form continues.

Chicago will come into Toronto today in a world of hurt. They recently fired coach Frank Yallop, and rumours are they are after former Mexican national team coach Miguel Herrera. They also haven't won in their last five games and sit in last place in the league.

All of this on paper should make for an easy win for Toronto FC, three crucial points that will help them fend off the Montreal Impact and Orlando City FC in the playoff race, but it is always easier said than done.

Chicago may be in shambles, but they still have some dangerous fragments on their team. Not the least of which is former Toronto FC forward Gilberto who will be making his first return to BMO Field since the team were forced to put him on waivers earlier in the year. He is joined up front by MLS veteran Mike Magee.

The Fire have also been a constant thorn in Toronto's side, a club they have not beaten in their last 12 games. That's a surprising stat, considering the fact that Chicago have hardly been world beaters of late.

Key to the Match: Early and Often

Last week Toronto FC's win over the Colorado Rapids meant that they are now a perfect 9-0 when they score the first goal. When they have the lead Toronto dictate play and can sit back and wait for opportunities as their opposition is forced to open up.

On the flip side, Toronto have at times struggled this season to break down teams when they allow the first goal. That is something they will want to avoid today at all costs as the Chicago Fire play a defensive formation, and will be looking to take the lead and kill the game.

If Toronto score first, the floodgates will likely open as Chicago Fire have conceded a lot of goals as of late.

The Lineup:

Toronto FC: Konopka, Delgado, Williams, Perquis, Morrow, Findley, Bradley, Cheyrou, Osorio, Giovinco, Altidore

Subs: Bendik, Kantari, Zavaleta, Warner, Jackson, Moore, Gomez

In defence Marky Delgado will continue to play in the rightback spot as Jackson continues to heal, and will be on the bench. In the middle Toronto will be hoping that Josh Williams and Damien Perquis can continue their dominance from last week.

The midfield will see Robbie Findley return, a player who has been in form lately. He will join what has been a strong midfield of late with Benoit Cheyrou, Jonathan Osorio and Michael Bradley.

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