Fire, TFC look for goals
Goals have been scarce lately for both Toronto FC and the Chicago Fire. Not surprising, neither club is enjoying much success.
In a matchup of two struggling offenses, Toronto hopes to pick up three points for just the second time in six weeks Saturday when it hosts a Fire team trying to avoid extending its winless streak to seven matches.
Toronto (2-4-4) was shut out for the fourth time in six matches with Wednesday's 1-0 loss to FC Dallas. Toronto had several chances, firing a season-high seven shots on goal, but fell to 1-3-4 since the start of April. It has scored five goals in those eight games.
"It makes me upset because we are improving every game, we're playing well, but with those things you can never win the game," coach Aron Winter said. "Every week it gets worse.''
Chicago (1-3-4) became the MLS' final team to be blanked with last Saturday's scoreless draw against Vancouver, but it is hardly considered an offensive juggernaut. The Fire have totaled six goals in going 0-3-3 since defeating Sporting Kansas City 3-2 on March 26.
Chicago, like Toronto, had some scoring chances in its last game but came away with nothing.
Diego Chaves, who leads the Fire with four goals, failed to shoot before being ridden off the ball in the penalty area in the 18th minute, and later sent a shot off the right goalpost.
"Sometimes the ball is (like) a bratty girl," Chaves told the Fire's official website. "When she doesn't want to go in, it's finished."
The sagging offense is making things difficult for goalkeeper Jon Conway, who is looking solid since taking over for a noneffective Sean Johnson.
Conway, who played for Toronto last season, made two saves Saturday to notch his first shutout since 2007. He has allowed four goals in starting the last four matches after Johnson permitted nine in starting the first four games for the Fire.
"I have confidence though because we are working hard and improving defensively," coach Carlos de los Cobos told the MLS' official website. "At the beginning of the season we were giving up a lot of goals but through the last three games, it's only been two. We are changing now, we need to be positive about this because the improvement is there."
Like the Fire, Toronto is also seeing improvements on the defensive end.
Toronto has yielded just one score in each of its last two games after surrendering seven goals in its previous three.
Toronto went 1-0-1 against the Fire last season, defeating them 4-1 at BMO Field. None of the players that scored in that game for Toronto, however, are on its current roster.