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Two struggling teams square off when Toronto FC visit Fire

Sportsnaut
Jul 9, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto FC forward Ayo Akinola (20) controls the ball against the San Jose Earthquakes during the second half at BMO Field. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC hope a visit to the Chicago Fire will help cure their road woes when the two sides face off on Wednesday.

Toronto (5-10-4, 19 points) sits 12th in the Eastern Conference, with seven points and several teams between them and the playoff cutoff. To have a sniff of a chance, the club will have to find a way to win on the road, where they are 0-5-3 this season.

“Our margin for the second half of the year is tight, let’s face it,” Toronto coach Bob Bradley said. “Make sure we come out of games with points and that is going to mean we’ve got to be able to play well and win away. Simple.”

A glimmer of hope for the Reds lies in their success against the Fire. Toronto is 11-0-3 in the past 14 matches against Chicago and has lost once in their past 18 games against them, going 11-1-6.

Toronto is winless in its past three MLS matches and 2-8-2 in its past 12. One of those wins was a 3-2 decision over the Fire on May 28.

The season hasn’t been much kinder to Chicago (4-10-5, 17 points), which enters the contest with just two wins in its past 15 games (2-10-3).

Most recently, the Fire fell 3-2 to the Columbus Crew on Sunday after leading 2-0 at halftime.

“I obviously don’t think it’s good enough right now, giving up three goals in the second half when you have two goals and are in the lead at home, and with the three points as crucial as they were for us,” Chicago forward Chris Mueller said after the match. “I don’t think any of us think that was good enough, so it takes all of us to come together and turn it around for the next game, it’s a quick turnaround.”

The team has struggled for offense, its 18 goals tied for fewest in MLS. Mueller’s two goals are third-most on the club behind Kacper Przybylko and Xherdan Shaqiri, who have three apiece. No other player has more than one.

–Field Level Media