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Toronto FC look to halt slide, extend success vs. Fire

Sportsnaut
May 21, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Toronto FC forward Deandre Kerr (29) shoots the ball as D.C. United defender Tony Alfaro (93) defends in the first half at Audi Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Two struggling teams are looking to get back into the win column on Saturday when Toronto FC host the Chicago Fire.

Toronto (3-7-3, 12 points) and Chicago (2-6-5, 11 points) are mired in lengthy winless droughts and hold the bottom two spots in the Eastern Conference.

The Fire are 0-6-3 in their last nine matches, putting them perilously close to the club’s record 11-game winless streak from the 2011 season.

Despite a league-worst 11 goals scored, Chicago still has managed to remain competitive. Believing his team’s breakthrough is “very, very close,” coach Ezra Hendrickson said the Fire will keep using their 4-2-3-1 formation.

Though some lineup changes are “necessary,” Hendrickson said that the Fire are “just trying to get the team … to be on the pitch for an extended period of time and for an extended period of games. We haven’t had a chance to sort of put the same lineup out on a consistent basis. I think once we do that, with the final pieces that we just added, we’ll be better.”

Chicago’s last match was a 1-0 road loss to New York City FC on Sunday.

Toronto FC are on a six-game (0-5-1) winless streak, which included three games without Jonathan Osorio due to a lower-body injury. Osorio returned to play 28 substitute minutes last Saturday, scoring an 89th-minute goal to secure a 2-2 draw over D.C. United.

“When (Osorio) is not in our midfield, it makes it really easy for every team to just focus on Michael (Bradley) … and those two have a really good understanding,” Toronto coach Bob Bradley said. “Then Oso also has incredible timing to move forward and get into the box. So for us he’s a really important player.”

Osorio was one of several Toronto regulars who saw some action in the team’s non-league Canadian Championship game on Tuesday. With this extra game mid-week, Bradley could juggle his lineup against the Fire.

A win or draw on Saturday would give Toronto a share of the MLS record for most consecutive successful results against a single opponent. The Reds are 10-0-3 in their last 13 matches against the Fire, a streak that stretches back to the 2015 season.

–Field Level Media