Bridgeview, IL – Vancouver Whitecaps FC wraps up a five-match road trip at the Chicago Fire on Saturday, when it will have to rebound from a mid-week loss to Toronto FC.
Vancouver picked up four points from its first three games during the run, and was in position to accumulate more before Toronto stole all three points via a 95th-minute goal at BMO Field.
The Whitecaps (8-5-6) will try to end the road trip with a win at the Fire and head home, where it will play four of its next five matches.
"It's hard to lose any game and thankfully we haven't lost too many this season, but it always hurts when you do lose so late in the game after equalizing so late in the game," said Whitecaps FC coach Martin Rennie.
"We were winning and fairly comfortable but to come out of that game losing three goals leaves me scratching my head. It is something we are going to have to bounce back from."
Tied for third in the Western Conference, the second-year franchise has been a surprise this season. Part of its success has been road form, as it has earned 12 points from 10 away matches.
Toyota Park and Chicago will provide another tough obstacle, as Vancouver will transition after the loss of midfielder Davide Chiumiento, who left the squad after two seasons to sign with FC Zurich in Switzerland.
Rookie Darren Mattocks scored twice against Toronto FC, including a memorable header, and has six goals in limited action this season. The rookie record is 11.
"He is a fantastic young player and he can be a star if he keeps working hard. He has that finishing touch with that pace and movement," said Rennie.
Chicago (8-6-4) lost to the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday, 2-0, as Robbie Keane scored a brace. The Fire have not scored in their last two matches, and have a single goal over their last three.
Chicago coach Frank Klopas took Sebastian Grazzini out of his familiar role in midfield three weeks ago, and the offensive woes followed. With a 5-2-2 record at home, and Chris Rolfe settling into Grazzini's role, the Fire hope to break out of the funk.
"We play the same way," Klopas said. "We have players that can create. With every player, you gain a little bit in one area, you might lose a little bit here, and gain a little bit there."