The Chicago Fire look to secure consecutive wins for just the second time this season on Saturday when they host the struggling Montreal Impact in Bridgeview, Ill.
The Fire (6-10-9, 27 points) improved to 1-1-2 in their last four MLS matches by registering their first road victory of the season with a 1-0 win at Houston last Saturday.
Nemanja Nikolic scored the match’s lone goal in first-half stoppage time for Chicago, which resides six points behind the playoff line in the Eastern Conference.
“It was very important. A very important moment for us,” Nikolic said. “We’re in the last part of the season, and we’re in a situation where we don’t have control in our hands and we need to collect points.”
Nikolic’s seven goals are second-best on the team behind C.J. Sapong (nine), who is expected to make his 200th career MLS regular-season start on Saturday.
Fire captain Dax McCarty underscored the importance of his team’s match against the Impact (10-12-3, 33 points).
“At this point in the season — it’s cliche to say — but every game is a final,” the 32-year-old McCarty said. “We have to treat it like that. We have to treat it like every game is going to be a six-point game.”
While Chicago is looking to win in back-to-back contests for the first time since May 8 and 11, Montreal is reeling after sustaining its fifth loss in six MLS matches following a 6-3 setback at Colorado last Saturday.
“It hurts a lot, but we still have everything to play for,” Impact defender Daniel Lovitz said. “This is obviously a performance we’ll look at again and take something from it that will hopefully point us in the right direction and improve us.”
Montreal did pick up a bit of momentum, however, after Ignacio Piatti’s brace lifted the club to a 2-1 win over Cavalry FC in the first leg of the Canadian Championship semifinals on Wednesday.
The Impact won their previous encounter with Chicago on April 28, courtesy of Omar Browne’s goal in the 83rd minute.
–Field Level Media