The Chicago Fire is in the midst of its best run of form all season, and the team will put its four-match unbeaten streak on the line when it visits the Columbus Crew on Saturday.
Chicago began the campaign with just one win from its first six games, but after collecting eight points from its four most recent matches, the Fire has started to edge closer to playoff contention in the Eastern Conference.
The Fire enters this weekend in eighth place, but sits only seven points back of the final playoff spot with plenty of time to gain ground.
Chicago notched a 2-1 win last time out and forward Mike Magee continued his fantastic start to life in the Windy City by scoring for the fifth straight game in all competitions, giving him at least one goal in every match for the Fire since his arrival from Los Angeles in the Robbie Rogers trade.
Magee converted a first-half penalty kick to level the match at 1-1 before Austin Berry tallied the winning goal early in the second half, and Magee was quick to deflect any praise for his performance.
"The intention is to help the team win. Tonight wasn't even my best game. I thought Jeff Larentowicz was fantastic, I thought Patrick Nyarko was fantastic and my only job tonight was to tap in a penalty kick so not much credit should go to me," said Magee.
Chicago already owns a pair of wins over Columbus this season with a Jeff Larentowicz goal providing the difference in a 1-0 Fire win over the Crew in April before the two sides met in the U.S. Open Cup last week with Chicago reaching the quarterfinals by claiming a 2-1 win.
The Crew suffered a big blow in the Open Cup defeat last week as defender Glauber was ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Columbus head coach Robert Warzycha will miss Glauber, but he was fortunate to see the return of both Chad Marshall and Josh Williams to the middle of the back line.
"Obviously it's a big blow with Glauber's ACL, we lost a second player and he is very, very important to us - as well as Eddie Gaven," said Warzycha. "But having Chad and Josh [Williams] gives us some hope and I think stability. The players believe that we are still a good team and I think we showed that."
Columbus notched a 2-0 win over the Montreal Impact last weekend, which marked the team's first home victory in four games.
A return to winning ways at home would certainly help Columbus move up the Eastern Conference table with the club tied in sixth place, but only two points out of third place.