While the Chicago Fire may have lost their momentum recently, a date with the league's worst team could help them get back on track.
The Fire will try to regroup with their sixth win in nine home matches Saturday night when they face a D.C. United team still looking for its first road victory.
Following a 7-0-2 stretch across all competitions that included a 2-0 victory over visiting United on June 2, Chicago (6-9-3) dropped its second straight with a 3-1 loss at Vancouver on Sunday.
"It's important how you respond from situations like this," coach Frank Klopas told the league's official website. "It's a crucial month and a half with a lot of important games coming up so we need to get points or we're going to fall behind."
Midfielder Mike Magee, who played a major role in the team's recent run, is tied for second in MLS with 11 goals. He went scoreless Sunday for only the second time in his last seven matches.
After an early own goal by D.C. midfielder Nick DeLeon in the first meeting, Magee added a second-half insurance tally to help the Fire beat United for the first time in eight regular-season matchups at home.
Forward Patrick Nyarko scored Chicago's goal against the Whitecaps, giving him two in his last three games.
The Fire have totaled two goals in their last two losses after scoring at least twice in the last eight games of their unbeaten streak.
They'll attempt to get something going on the attack against United (2-13-4), who have given up nine goals over their last 10 matches in all competitions.
With goalkeeper Bill Hamid away on U.S. national team duty, Joe Willis will be back in net after finishing with a career-high seven saves in a scoreless draw at Colorado on July 7.
United, however, haven't provided much offensively, managing a league-worst eight goals after getting blanked for the 12th time in league play.
"I wish we were a little more connected at times," coach Ben Olsen said. "It's been a long stretch for us. There's been a lot of games and some of the guys are on fumes."
D.C., 0-6-4 on the road in all competitions, hasn't scored in 406 minutes outside RFK Stadium in league play since Dwayne De Rosario had the team's only road goal of the season in a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas on May 11.
De Rosario has two goals in his last three games against the Fire, though he's likely to be a game-time decision because of a hip injury.
His absence would certainly make things easier on Chicago's Paolo Tornaghi, who has yielded seven goals in three starts while Sean Johnson plays with the U.S. national team.
United made a move toward the future Wednesday when they traded defender Brandon McDonald to Real Salt Lake for a pair of draft picks.