Struggling Fire, Whitecaps clash at Empire Field

Vancouver Whitecaps' Camilo fights for the ball against Los Angeles Galaxy's Juninho.. (REUTERS/Ben...

Vancouver Whitecaps' Camilo fights for the ball against Los Angeles Galaxy's Juninho.. (REUTERS/Ben Nelms)

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, Last Updated: 7:32 PM ET

Chicago has fewer losses than Eastern leader Columbus this year, but sits 15 points off the pace at the bottom of division with Toronto FC because it also has 13 draws.

The Fire (2-6-13) have just two wins this year, and are just one tie away from tying the Major League Soccer record of 14 ties in a season set last season by FC Dallas.

Unlike Dallas, which lost in the MLS Cup final to the Colorado Rapids one year ago, Chicago has failed to earn victories in its other matches, and visits the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday in desperate need of a spark.

Vancouver (2-11-9) has also struggled this season, as it has just one win over its last 21 games since opening the season with a 4-2 win over Toronto FC. The Whitecaps are the worst team in MLS, but just four points behind Chicago.

Although the Fire are winless in their last seven matches, the signings of two international players - Pavel Pardo and Sebastian Grazzini - added a big punch to the lineup in its last match, a 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union.

Interim coach Frank Klopas was impressed with both players after the match and admitted Pardo "was just fantastic," and Grazzini "definitely brings something different to the table."

Now, Chicago just hopes they can bring wins to the table as well.

Klopas acknowledged there was a "sense of urgency" against the Union and that the team "played very well." He added "I'm very pleased with the performance of the team and how we're coming together."

But over the last 10 league matches, the Fire have scored just six times and are just 1-2-7 in that stretch. Although the positive it has just two losses in its last 10, getting one point will not be enough - especially this week.

"I think that we looked pretty good, but it's always hard to drop points," said Chicago defender Gonzalo Segares said last week, "especially with the position that we are in."

It could be worse, just ask Vancouver boss Tom Soehn.

Vancouver suffered its worst defeat yet last week, 4-0 at home against the Los Angeles Galaxy and are now winless in six straight. Sitting ninth in the West, and at the bottom of the overall standings, the season is already lost.

"We are obviously disappointed and [last week] shows what a good team is all about. When they get chances, they punish you," Soehn said.

Vancouver can lean on a 0-0 draw from its first meeting with Chicago on May 7 at Toyota Park, but recently-signed designated player Mustapha Jarju has left the team to join Gambia for international duty, and defender Jay DeMerit and midfielder Davide Chiumiento are both probable with injuries.

Soehn will have No. 1 overall pick Omar Salgado available, after he missed two matches while with the U.S. Under-18 national team for the Milk Cup, and if he can find his scoring touch - he has one goal in 12 games - it would provide a needed boost against the Fire. 


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