With Sebastian Giovinco looking to make MLS history, Toronto FC will try to continue its home success during a lengthy string of games at BMO Field.
After snapping a three-game losing streak, TFC can end the Chicago Fire’s postseason hopes Saturday.
Giovinco needs one goal to become the first player in league history with 20 goals and double-digit assists. He scored twice in a 3-1 win over Colorado last Saturday, and registered his 14th assist.
Giovinco’s 19 goals in his first MLS season have him two behind Columbus’ Kei Kamara for the league lead. His combined 33 goals and assists have him one shy of tying Chris Wondolowski’s league-record total for San Jose in 2012.
Giovinco’s efforts have helped Toronto (12-13-4) remain in playoff position in the Eastern Conference, and the club will try to solidify its hold on a spot when it plays the second of five consecutive home contests. TFC is 8-1-4 at BMO.
"It’s up to us to continue to get results because we want to build momentum," coach Greg Vanney said. "These home games are an opportunity for us to build momentum going into the playoffs."
TFC will be facing a last-place Fire team that’s on the verge of matching the longest losing streak in team history. Chicago (7-17-6) lost its fourth in a row Wednesday, 2-1 at Montreal in its first game under interim coach Brian Bliss.
Bliss took over for the fired Frank Yallop on Sunday, the day after a 1-0 loss to Orlando City.
"The boys battled hard. I’m proud of them. It’s been a tough couple of days for everybody, an emotional couple of days, stressful and whatnot, but the boys kept fighting and battling," goalkeeper Jon Busch told the league’s official website. "I’m disappointed we didn’t get something out of it because I think we deserved at least a point out of it."
The Fire haven’t lost five straight since their inaugural season of 1998, when they did so twice. A road game doesn’t bode well for their chances of avoiding another streak of that length.
Chicago’s 0-16-7 skid away from home is the third-longest in league history. The Fire, 0-10-5 there in 2015, have two chances left to avoid becoming the seventh team to go winless on the road in a season.
Chicago needs a win and a Montreal loss to D.C. on Saturday to keep its all-but-nonexistent playoff hopes alive.
The Fire have come away with ties in their last two trips to Toronto but won 3-2 in the only meeting this season April 4. Shaun Maloney and Jeff Larentowicz rallied Chicago with second-half goals.
Giovinco scored his first MLS goal and assisted on another.