Two teams heading in opposite directions will clash on Saturday as the Chicago Fire host the Columbus Crew at Toyota Park.
After earning their first win of the season against the New York Red Bulls on April 7, the Fire slipped off the pace by falling to the Houston Dynamo, 2-1, at BBVA Compass Stadium seven days later.
Houston opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Brad Davis swung in a perfect cross from the left flank, right to the head of Will Bruin, who easily nodded it home.
Chicago answered three minutes later through Chris Rolfe, who ripped a first- time shot past Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall.
The Dynamo hit for the winner in the 81st minute. Davis took a Kofi Sarkodie pass on the right flank and clipped in a cross that sailed through the box untouched before nestling in the far-side netting.
"I felt that we deserved better, but the little things towards the end obviously hurt us," Fire head coach Frank Klopas said. "I think that we should have walked away with at least a point, but what are you going to do."
Columbus, meanwhile, is trending upward after last week's 1-1 draw with Montreal in Quebec. A snowstorm in the area pushed the match back one day, but the result extended the Crew's unbeaten run to four straight games.
The Impact pulled ahead in the 68th minute when Sanna Nyassi's failed volley attempt on the edge of the box turned into an assist for Marco Di Vaio, who ripped home a thunderous shot from some 22 yards out.
But the Crew answered that spectacular strike with one of their own just four minutes later as Dominic Oduro scored for the second straight week when he latched onto a deflected cross and looped it in front of Montreal defender Hassoun Camara before sending a left-footed finish to the top right corner of Troy Perkins' goal from the left side of the box.
"To get a point here, especially with the conditions we had; staying an extra day, playing a noon game, you never know what to expect, so I thought we did a great job and we can build off of that," said goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.
In 47 all-time meetings between the sides, Chicago holds a 22-12-13 advantage. The teams met three time last season, each match ending in a 2-1 score with Chicago coming out on the positive end in two of three games.
The Fire have also claimed full points in 13 of 25 meetings against Columbus at home.