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Don't Play with Fire: Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire Match Preview

While the Chicago Fire may be the worst team in the league, they still present a challenge today for Toronto FC.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

There have been a number of tragic moments this season for Toronto FC. When will Will Johnson scored the Voyageurs Cup winning goal only to suffer a leg injury, when captain Michael Bradley hurt himself during the Copa America third-place game. When Toronto FC held on for 90 minutes plus 8 minutes of stoppage time against Orlando City only to concede a weak penalty, and a point.

However, as far as tragic seasons go, nobody can claim to have had a more difficult start to the season than the Chicago Fire. The league's worst team started the season off in decent form but quickly fell down the standings in mid-April. They have stayed at the bottom pretty much ever since, winning only two of their last eleven MLS matches.

The biggest contributor to yet another disappointing Chicago Fire season has been the club's form on the road, where they find themselves today at BMO Field. They have not won on the road this season, and have lost their last five away from home. In fact, it has been almost two years since a Chicago Fire team pulled off a win away from Toyota Park.

Toronto FC certainly doesn't want to be the team against which the Fire finally end that streak, and Greg Vanney said as much in training this week. Despite their opponent, Toronto FC is wary of the dangerous weapons that the Chicago Fire do have.

Not that Toronto FC has been particularly hot lately either, it is easy to forget that with how the Voyageurs Cup matches played out. TFC has only won one match, 1-0 against the LA Galaxy, in their last seven MLS matches. It is a poor stretch of form that has the club only the outside looking in of the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The Fire have been looking a little bit better lately. They won twice last week, 2-1 in the U.S. Open Cup against the Columbus Crew and 1-0 in MLS play against the San Jose Earthquakes. That victory puts them within striking distance of Toronto FC, only six points trailing with a game in hand.

Chicago, like Toronto FC, has struggled to score goals this season, but with players like David Accam and Kennedy Igboananike, they are always a threat. Toronto certainly shouldn't be taking the Fire's scoring woes for granted, after allowing the league-worst Seattle Sounders offence to score on them last week.

Toronto FC fans, however, will be happy to be reminded that Gilberto was released by the Chicago Fire earlier this year. The ex-Toronto FC man scored twice when these two clubs met last season, including a goal just 40 seconds into the match.

Depending how the D.C. United match goes, a win today could see Toronto FC move up to fifth place in the Eastern Conference. That would give them some confidence ahead of a short road trip beginning this Wednesday in Columbus.

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