With Mike Magee leading a potent attack, the Chicago Fire have overcome a slow start with their best stretch in four years.
The Fire will attempt to stretch their unbeaten streak across all competitions to 10 Sunday when they take on a Sporting Kansas City team that they've played well against at home.
Since opening the season with two wins in its first 10 matches, Chicago (6-7-3) has been a much different club with a 7-0-2 record in its last nine all competitions.
It the franchise's longest undefeated streak since an 11-game run to start the 2009 campaign.
"We kind of feel like we're playing like we should," midfielder Dilly Duka, who has scored in his last two league games, told the league's official website. "Chemistry builds every day in training, how positive we are in the locker room. We've got so many guys that are coming off the bench that are so positive … Right now, we're in a good place."
Magee has certainly put the club in a good place offensively since being acquired from Los Angeles for the rights to Robbie Rogers. The midfielder became the first player in Fire history to score in each of his first seven matches with the club, including three U.S. Open Cup contests.
While Magee's scoring streak ended in a 3-2 win over San Jose on Wednesday, he assisted on Chris Rolfe's go-ahead goal in the 84th minute in a season-best third straight league victory. It was Rolfe's third goal in his last two matches in all competitions.
Chicago, tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference with 21 points, has 21 goals during its unbeaten run after scoring six in its first 10 matches.
The Fire look to win their third straight at Toyota Park against Sporting KC (7-5-6) and improve to 16-4-2 all-time at home in this series. The clubs also played to scoreless draw in Kansas City on March 16.
Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson had three saves in that meeting, but he is with the U.S. national team for the Gold Cup. Paolo Tornaghi will make his third MLS start after earning the win against the Earthquakes. He's allowed six goals in two league matches.
Although Sporting KC's Jimmy Nielsen has recorded two straight shutouts against the Fire, he's given up seven scores in his last four MLS matches overall.
"I think we just need to continue what we're doing," Nielsen said. "We put in a great effort (on Wednesday)."
Kansas City, tied for third in the East with 27 points, is unbeaten in its last three matches but has only three wins in its last 11 league games following a 4-1-2 start. Sporting KC, though, has taken points in six of its last seven road matches by going 2-1-3 in that span.
Forward Claudio Bieler is one of the league's top scorers with eight goals, while second-leading scorer Kei Kamara has four goals in his last five matches.
Aurelien Collin provided the team's lone tally - his third this season - in a 1-all draw with Vancouver on Wednesday.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sporting Kansas City
- Mike Magee