Toronto FC-Fire Preview

The Associated Press

While Toronto FC left some points on the board after blowing a late lead last week, coach Ryan Nelsen was still pleased with the result.

His club hasn't experienced much contentment against the Chicago Fire.

On the verge of its longest unbeaten streak in four seasons, visiting Toronto tries to snap an eight-game winless stretch against the lowly Fire on Wednesday night.

After three weeks off for the World Cup, Toronto (6-4-2) resumed play with a 2-all draw at New York on Friday. Jermain Defoe and Gilberto both scored for TFC, which took a 2-1 lead into stoppage time before allowing the equalizer in the 93rd minute.

"It's one of those games where you look beyond the result and look at the performance," Nelsen told MLS' official website. "I thought the performance was extremely pleasing."

TFC has now scored 10 goals during a 3-0-2 stretch, half of which have come from Defoe. The club hasn't gone unbeaten in six straight since a franchise-best 4-0-4 run May 8-July 10, 2010.

"In a league of parity, any points away from home are very valuable," said Nelsen, whose team is 2-2-2 on the road. "Now we have to go to Chicago away, we can go to Chicago full of confidence looking to win there."

Toronto is seeking its first victory in eight trips to Chicago, where it's been limited to one goal in its last four visits. TFC, which has dropped three straight at Toyota Park, is 0-5-3 in the series overall dating to 2010.

Snapping those woes could prove difficult without star midfielder Michael Bradley and goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who are still with the United States and Brazil at the World Cup.

The Fire (2-4-8) had gone 0-2-2 before posting back-to-back wins in U.S. Open Cup play, including a 4-2 victory over Columbus last Wednesday. Juan Anangono came in as a substitute before tying things up with seven minutes remaining in regulation, and Quincy Amarikwa scored the go-ahead goal two minutes into overtime.

"The whole team worked hard," said Anangono, who scored again in the 108th minute. "This is a team, we're 11 players and seven subs and other players that are all helping the team. This is a team, there ain't one hero. If there's a hero, it's the team."

Tied with Montreal and Chivas USA for the fewest points in MLS, Chicago is hoping to see its momentum carry over in league play.

"The guys that are playing in these games are probably the guys that will be playing once the regular season starts up again, so I think it's about everyone developing a rhythm and understanding each other," midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said. "If we can create goals we can start to see patterns of play we like to do and hopefully we can carry those in the regular season again."

Chicago has gone 1-2-4 at home in MLS play while scoring one or two goals in each of those matches.

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