Bridgeview, IL – Sporting Kansas City has managed just one league win in its last six outings, but things will not get any easier when the club heads to Toyota Park on Sunday for a meeting with the in-form Chicago Fire.
Chicago is coming off of a 3-2 home victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, a fine result considering the two sides were level with just six minutes to play.
The Earthquakes have become synonymous with late comebacks in recent years, but they were on the wrong end of a dramatic finish on Wednesday as Chris Rolfe turned in a driven cross from Mike Magee in the 84th minute to hand the Fire a third successive win.
"I thought we played an excellent game," said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. "Regardless of the early goal, sometimes you get a little bit unlucky but that's part of the game. I thought we played good soccer. Tactically the guys followed the plan that we discussed and we talked about. We created chances, we were dangerous ... It was an exciting game and again we found a way to create chances and score some goals.
"It was an exciting game from both sides. They left everything on the field. It was an important game for us, being at home again. It's been a tough stretch that we have to take one game at a time but starting with this one it is important to continue to play well and obviously getting the three points was big."
The result saw Chicago extend its unbeaten run to six games as the club has taken 14 points from that stretch to climb to sixth place in the Eastern Conference on 21 points.
The Fire come into Sunday's clash just six points behind Peter Vermes' men, who had to settle for a point from a 1-1 home draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday.
Sporting had opened the scoring through Aurelien Collin in the 35th minute, but a sublime free kick from Camilo Sanvezzo just before halftime saw the 'Caps take a share of the spoils.
"When we concede a goal in the last five (minutes of the half) - as many games that have been happening like that, we really have to work on that and remain (focused)," Collin said after the match. "We talk about the last five, I scream 'Last five! Be careful, be careful!' and we were not focused enough."
Kansas City created 25 attempts on goal to Vancouver's 10, leading Sporting defender Dom Dwyer to assert his side's need to convert its scoring chances ahead of Sunday's tilt with Chicago.
"We just need better quality in the final third and to keep working," Dwyer said. "We're a good team and if we play to our strengths, we'll win the game."