A pair clubs hoping to end their disappointing runs of form will meet at Toyota Park on Sunday when the Chicago Fire host D.C. United.
The Fire ended their three-game losing streak last weekend with a 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake. Chicago's goal, scored by Quincy Amarikwa, was the club's first since April 20, snapping a 361-minute goalless drought. The Fire have scored seven goals this season, just one more than Ben Olsen's men, who have the fewest goals in MLS this term.
"It's difficult when you don't score goals in six games to get a positive result," said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. "The good thing is that in those matches we created opportunities.
"We just got to concentrate and our focus has got to be better in the final third. I think any time you can score, even coming from behind shows a lot of character."
To aid Chicago's shortcomings in front of net, the club acquired Mike Magee from the Los Angeles Galaxy in exchange for the rights to Robbie Rogers. Magee, who appears set to line up as an out-and-out strike for the Fire despite predominantly occupying a wide position for the Galaxy, has notched six goals so far this season.
"He's done extremely well," Klopas said of Magee. "He's a quality player, someone that's going to add to more quality in the final third for us."
It may be the perfect storm for Chicago's offense to regain its form as the club will come up against a D.C. United defense that has conceded a total of 15 goals in its last six matches.
D.C. saw its winless streak extended to 10 games with a 2-0 home loss to the Portland Timbers, which matches the club's record set in 2002.
"It's embarrassing how soft we are, everywhere around the field," said Olsen. "The lack of anger that a few of our guys play with, the lack of a chip on some of our guys' shoulders is mind-boggling to me."
There is plenty to be angry about for United, though. The club enters the weekend with an MLS-low five points from its 12 matches.
This has led Olsen to deploy different combinations in his starting lineups of late, exemplified by Carlos Ruiz's partnership with Chris Pontius up front against Portland.
"Surprised is not the word," Dwayne De Rosario said of his reaction to being left on the substitutes' bench for the first time since April 13. "(Olsen) didn't think that me and Carlos can play on the same field together, so that's what it is. I think if you look at our track record as goal scorers, as creators, I think it's not a bad problem to try at least once."