The Fire let a two-goal lead slip away in their previous match, drawing 2-2 with DC United, while the Reds are unbeaten in their last three games after a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls.
Chicago showed once again on Wednesday that they are a better team than their record may indicate (3-3-8), but they still seem to lack that killer instinct to close out a match.
They may not be in the Eastern Conference basement anymore, but they let a pair of points slip through their fingers against DC United, allowing two goals in the final 10 minutes of play.
It was the second time this season that they squandered a 2-0 lead, as they continue conceding late goals, having given up an 87th minute strike to CF Montreal in a 1-0 loss and then allowing two equalising goals with less than 15 minutes to play versus the Philadelphia Union and DC United respectively.
Those seven points could have done them a world of good as they could be sitting just a point out of a playoff position, but instead, they are in 12th, eight points out of a playoff berth with five teams to catch.
Swiss manager Raphael Wicky should be back on the sidelines this weekend as they look to extend their unbeaten run at home to five games.
Having another manager on the sidelines has not helped the Fire, who are winless in their two fixtures under Frank Klopas, but for their opponents on Saturday, Toronto FC, it has been the complete opposite.
Perhaps their 7-1 defeat to DC United, along with the firing of Chris Armas, sent a message to the Reds to smarten up because they have been a lot sharper since Javier Perez took over on an interim basis, unbeaten in his three games in charge.
TFC still have a lot of ground to make up, currently in 13th place, but this team have to be feeling a lot better about their game, with a victory over the Eastern Conference-leading New England Revolution followed by a draw against Orlando City.
Winning away from home for the first time, not to mention against the top team in their conference, should give them the confidence to know that they are capable of earning results away from BMO Field.
Four of their losses this year have been by a single goal, so although they have not been on the right side of many of their games in 2021, there is a belief that if they can clean up their defensive play, their season could still be salvaged.
After 14 matches, they have conceded a league-high 31 goals, which is five more than the next closest team in MLS, FC Cincinnati.
TFC are missing Ayo Akinola, Richie Laryea and Jonathan Osorio, who are all in the Gold Cup quarter-finals with Canada, while Kemar Lawrence is with the Jamaicans and Eriq Zavaleta has helped El Salvador reach the last eight of that competition.
It has been a nightmare season so far for the TFC defence, but full-back Justin Morrow has been one of the few bright spots in that department, and he was recently named to the MLS Team of the Week last week as he earned his first assist on a perfect cross to Jozy Altidore in their 1-1 draw versus Orlando.
Chicago Fire possible starting lineup:
Shuttleworth; Omsberg, Pineda, Offor, Bornstein; Sekulic, Frankowski, Gutierrez; Navarro; Beric, Ivanov
Toronto possible starting lineup:
Bono; Dunn, Gonzalez, Mavinga, Morrow; Bradley, Delgado, Okello, Soteldo; Altidore, Dwyer
We say: Chicago Fire 1-1 Toronto
Chicago seem to have found a way to put the ball in the back of the net with 12 goals over their previous five games, but they have failed to put a game out of reach when given the opportunity.
Toronto appear to have a lot more structure to their game since Perez took over, but they continue to look unsettled at the back, conceding at least a goal in every one of their regular-season games thus far.
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