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Toronto FC hopes to get on track vs. Fire
The Chicago Fire, revitalized since signing German World Cup-winning forward Bastian Schweinsteiger, travel for a Friday game against a Toronto FC team that is still looking to break out.
Schweinsteiger, who joined the Fire late last month, has already scored twice in three games. He has helped elevate Chicago (3-1-2) to third place in the Eastern Conference after the team finished last or second to last in each of the past three seasons.
Things may be going well for the Fire, but Toronto (1-1-4) is one of the MLS teams that has the firepower to erupt at any time.
"They're very good players when you don't have pressure on them and you don't take care of them," Chicago defender Michael Harrington said of Toronto's star players such as Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco.
"When we have the ball, we have to make sure of where they are on the field so when the ball turns over they're not getting the ball in dangerous spots."
Toronto has looked good in stretches this time but hasn't been able to convert chances as it should, especially considering the team's talent.
Giovinco, the 2015 MLS Most Valuable Player, has just one goal in five games.
Teams have found success in sitting back and waiting to hit Toronto on the counterattack. Toronto has experienced some difficulties adjusting to that and will aim to prove it can break down that kind of defending this weekend.
"We have created a lot of good chances over the course the last games, and we haven't been as efficient around the goal," Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney said. "If you're not and you're exposed on the other end with some transitions, you get into a game where you can win some and lose some, and we don't want to be in that situation."
Toronto will be without goalie Clint Irwin (hamstring), defender Drew Moor (heart) and defender Chris Mavinga (adductor). Chicago will continue to miss midfielder John Goossens (ankle), while forward Luis Solignac (knee), midfielder David Accam (hip) and midfielder Matt Polster (knee) are all questionable.
Updated April 20, 2017