Bridgeview, IL – There is no hotter team in Major League Soccer at the moment than the Chicago Fire.
Chicago has won six of its last seven league games to jump all the way to second place in the East with 50 points, but it will test its fine run of form on Saturday when it hosts a Columbus Crew side that is desperate to make the postseason.
The Fire were one point shy of first-place Sporting Kansas City before its 2-0 win at Red Bull New York on Wednesday, which extended its lead atop the table to four points while giving Chicago a game in hand.
Chicago could find itself seven points adrift of the top spot in the East by game time as Kansas City takes on the Montreal Impact early on Saturday, but the Fire are in good shape to reach their regular season goal this term.
"We set 60 [points]," Patrick Nyarko told reporters after Saturday's 3-1 win over Montreal. "When we came up with that number, a lot of people were saying that was a little bit ridiculous."
Chicago has six games remaining, leaving a total of 18 points to be had.
"It's becoming a reality right now," said Nyarko.
Columbus should provide a strong test to Chicago's aspirations.
The Crew are coming off of a 1-0 win over Chivas USA on Wednesday, stealing all three points thanks to a late strike from Justin Meram.
That win snapped a two-game losing skid for Columbus, but there is no time to enjoy it as the team heads back to the drawing board for their meeting with Fire on Saturday.
"[Wednesday] was important, but the most important is always the next [game]. That's it," Sebastian Miranda said. "We have to think about what we did good or bad, and try to play the same way or better on Saturday."
Eddie Gaven underlined the importance of Wednesday's dramatic victory and added that it is crucial for the Crew to keep the momentum going.
"We really needed the win to get back into the playoff picture," Gaven added. "It was huge being able to get a win at home in a game that was very tight. It took us 89 minutes for us to finally be able to break them down, but at the end of the day three points is three points.
"Everybody here is very happy we were able to win and hopefully we keep the momentum going Saturday."