FC Dallas-Fire Preview
After each season series between the Chicago Fire and FC Dallas, the Brimstone Cup is awarded to the team that earns the most points.
Chicago may not even remember what the trophy looks like.
The Fire look to claim their first Brimstone Cup since it was created 11 years ago while seeking to end a five-game winless streak against struggling Dallas on Wednesday night.
Chicago captured the inaugural award in 2001 but hasn't reclaimed it since relinquishing it the following season. Dallas has gone 14-3-3 against the Fire since 2002 and 3-0-2 in the last five meetings.
This will be the only regular-season contest between these teams, meaning the winner will claim the Brimstone Cup. If the match ends in a draw, Dallas (3-6-4) will hold it for an 11th straight year.
Chicago has never beaten Dallas at Toyota Park, going 0-5-1 since it opened in 2006. Its last home victory in the series was June 12, 2005, at Soldier Field.
The Fire (4-3-3) seemingly have a good opportunity to end that skid, though.
Dallas is 0-4-3 in its last seven after a 1-all draw with Philadelphia on Saturday, last winning April 14 over Montreal. It hasn't gone this many games without a victory since a club-record 10-game stretch July 2-Sept. 10, 2005.
"I thought we played well enough to win. It's just same old story," midfielder Daniel Hernandez told the league's official website. "We can't find a way to get three points."
Dallas is 1-7-1 in its last nine road games, winning 2-1 at Chicago on Oct. 12.
The Fire are coming off a 2-1 loss at Portland on Sunday, ending a three-game unbeaten streak. After Jalil Anibaba tied the game in the 39th minute, Chicago's Logan Pause deflected a header into his own net in the 52nd minute.
"I thought that we didn't deserve to walk away with a loss," coach Frank Klopas said. "Overall, I thought it was frustrating because I feel disappointed when we lose, but when you feel that you should have walked away with points from here it's hard to take the loss."
Inconsistency has plagued a Chicago team that hasn't won consecutive games all season with an attack that has gone dormant for stretches during matches.
"We've put very good halves together, we've played very well in 60-minute stretches," defender Dan Gargan told the team's official website. "I think we're looking for a really good 90-minute performance from start to finish. That's certainly something we need to get better at."
The same goes for Dallas, which got a goal from Blas Perez in the seventh minute Saturday but little else after that. It hasn't scored a goal in the second half other than on a penalty kick since Brek Shea's tally in the 88th minute in Dallas' most recent win.
"We created some really good chances in the first half," coach Schellas Hyndman said after Saturday's match. "And then, the game just got to the point where it unfortunately got more physical than it needed to be."
Dallas has outscored Chicago 10-3 in the last five matchups.