Fire-Chivas USA Preview

Thanks to some superb defensive play under interim coach Frank

Klopas, the Chicago Fire are riding one of the longest unbeaten

streaks in team history. However, they still remain near the bottom

of the Eastern Conference standings.

A lack of scoring is mostly to blame, but the Fire have a good

chance to earn a rare win Saturday night when they face a

struggling Chivas USA defense at The Home Depot Center.

Since Klopas replaced Carlos de los Cobos on May 30, Chicago

(2-4-11) has given up two goals in six contests but is 1-0-5 over

that span. That stretch, along with a tie in their final game under

de los Cobos, has given the Fire their longest run without a loss

since a team-best 5-0-6 start to the 2009 season.

Chicago allowed a goal late in the first half at home Sunday

against New York, but Marco Pappa forced a 1-all draw by scoring

his team’s third goal in six games.

The Fire are tied for seventh in the East with Sporting Kansas

City and just two points ahead of last-place New England. However,

they could move as high as fourth place with a victory over Chivas

(4-7-5), loser of a season-high three straight.

“We need wins in the league,” forward Patrick Nyarko told MLS’

official website. “(Chivas holds) a really high (defensive) line

and we’re going to try to exploit that with our pace. We haven’t

been scoring that many goals, but we know we’ve been creating

chances and we know the goals will come.”

Chivas has allowed seven goals during its skid and gave up the

tiebreaking score in the 82nd minute of last Saturday’s 3-2 loss at

East-leading Philadelphia.

“We’ve got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot,” coach Robin

Fraser said. “We’ve done it game in and game out. We’re giving up

way too many leads and either tying or losing games that I think we

should win.”

Chivas was handed its most lopsided home loss from last season

in its most recent matchup with Chicago, 4-1 on Oct. 23.

The Fire are 4-0-1 in their last five MLS matchups with Chivas

after losing four of the previous five. They’re seeking a third

straight road win in the series and won’t have to defend one of

Chivas’ top scorers, Alejandro Moreno.

Moreno, tied for second on his team with three goals, is away

with the Venezuelan national team. The Fire, meanwhile, are

expected to have forward Cristian Nazarit available following a

two-game suspension.

Chicago also will play its next MLS game at The Home Depot

Center, taking on West leader Los Angeles on July 9.