Bridgeview, IL – The Chicago Fire have lost just three games since Frank Klopas became interim manager in late May, but that stretch of 13 matches also includes just a single victory.
Chicago has nine draws under Klopas, who insisted after a 1-1 tie against D.C. United on Thursday set an MLS single-season mark for draws with 15 that "we're not very far off."
"The good thing is the team is working 'til the end. I felt that we were very organized," Klopas said.
"We took some risk in the end but you have to keep going."
That's all Chicago, which has more points than just one other club - expansion Vancouver Whitecaps FC - can do at this point, as it looks for its second home win of the season Sunday against improving Toronto FC.
"Obviously it's frustrating a bit. I thought our players came out with a sense of urgency; they put everything to the line," Klopas said after the club's tie against United.
Sebastian Grazzini scored in the 59th minute to give Chicago the lead, but the Fire (2-7-15) failed to hold an advantage as former Fire-man Josh Wolff scored late for United.
"It's not far away now. We still have hope. We are trying to get a 'W.' We'll have to work hard," Chicago's Dominic Oduro said.
"We've played really well and now we just need to finish it."
Toronto (4-11-11) enters the match just two points ahead of last-place Chicago in the Eastern Conference, but is riding a six-match unbeaten run covering all competitions after a 2-1 Champions League win over Panama's Tauro on Thursday.
"First of all I must give the team very big compliments, when you play an away game in this competition it���s not easy and to get a good result," Toronto FC assistant Bob de Klerk said.
The CONCACAF Champions League win leaves Toronto atop its group with FC Dallas and puts Aron Winter's squad in position to make something of what has to this point been a lost season.
But as one of just three teams still winless on the road in MLS this season, a win at Chicago is far from a sure thing. However, designated player and former Germany international Torsten Frings will return after missing the Tauro match on suspension.
Both teams still have an outside shot at the playoffs, as even Chicago is just 16 points behind the first-place Columbus Crew, and just 11 out of third and a guaranteed playoff berth. But a loss this weekend would all but end all hopes, so there is more on the line than the records show.