Fire-Impact Preview

The Associated Press

After he was acquired last season, Mike Magee went on a scoring surge that nearly led the Chicago Fire to a playoff berth.

With the midfielder starting to heat up again, the Fire are hoping to win consecutive matches for only the second time all season while dealing the Montreal Impact their eighth straight defeat Saturday night.

Magee made a tremendous impact after Chicago picked him up from Los Angeles last May, scoring 15 goals - one shy of the league's Golden Boot - while leading the Fire to an 11-6-5 record.

Chicago missed the playoffs by just three goals, but Magee went on to earn league MVP honors.

Magee hasn't been that type of catalyst for the Fire while battling a sore calf this season. The Chicago area native has seven goals while only Montreal has posted fewer victories than the Fire (4-5-13).

Magee, however, may have started another hot streak after scoring in his second straight match in Sunday's 1-0 victory over New York. It was Chicago's second win in 12 games since recording back-to-back victories May 10 and 18.

"The last two games, you know Mike is really starting to come into his own," coach Frank Yallop told the league's official website. "He started to move around the field more like he can and how he plays."

Despite Magee's recent efforts, the Fire haven't scored more than one goal in eight consecutive matches. They came up short on both sides Wednesday when they were beaten 6-0 by MLS-best Seattle in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals.

Chicago, though, may be able to pick up some ground in the tightly bunched Eastern Conference. Montreal (3-14-5) has conceded multiple goals in six consecutive matches and has been outscored 15-6 during a franchise-record, seven-game MLS losing streak.

"There are still a lot of games to play, but I'm also thinking about the moves and what we have to do in order to get better for next season," Impact coach Frank Klopas said. "There's some good pieces there, and we have to get better in certain areas."

Maxim Tissot scored his second goal in three games in last Saturday's 2-1 loss at Philadelphia.

Jack McInerney hasn't scored during the seven-game skid after getting six goals during his first 10 matches with Montreal after being acquired from the Union. However, he has scored four times in his last five meetings with the Fire.

McInerney scored off a feed from Marco Di Vaio in the first half at Montreal on April 12 before Magee assisted on Quincy Amarikwa's second-half goal in a 1-all draw.

Di Vaio has three goals in five career meetings with Chicago. He's set to return to the lineup after not traveling to Philadelphia following a 90-minute performance in the CONCACAF Champions League earlier that week.

Designated player Ignacio Piatti is also expected to play after completing his stint with Argentina's San Lorenzo.

The Impact have gone 1-2-3 all-time in this series but are 1-0-2 at home.

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