CF Montreal will look to maintain their current run of success and solidify a playoff berth when they host the struggling Chicago Fire on Sunday.
Montreal (9-8-7, 34 points) is 3-1-2 in its past six games and has won two of its past three. But the club has been burned by lesser opponents this season, conceding late goals after holding a lead and ultimately losing crucial points.
The battle for a playoff spot is tight in the Eastern Conference, with nine teams vying for seven spots.
"The way I see it is, the more we concentrate on the result, the easier the task will be," Montreal coach Wilfried Nancy said. "What matters to me is that the players stay focused on what they do on the pitch, with the ball and without the ball, to get a win. ... I try to encourage my players to concentrate on what we can control."
Montreal will be without speedy fullback Zachary Brault-Guillard, who returned to Lyon, France, to tend to a personal matter.
The Fire (6-13-5, 23 points) are trying to get themselves back in the mix for a postseason spot but face a daunting uphill battle with multiple teams not only ahead of the 12th-place side but also within closer range points-wise to the cutoff line.
Chicago, which has lost two straight, will wrap up a six-game road trip with Sunday's match.
The club is 1-4-0 on the road trip and has been shut out three times in the past four matches, including each of their past two. The Fire scored only one goal in the other, a 1-0 win against the New York Red Bulls on Aug. 28.
The Fire's victory against New York is their only one on the road this season.
"It's been a tough road stretch," defender Jonathan Bornstein said. "But I think the team is feeling positive. We've got to keep pushing, keep trying to get points, keep ourselves in the playoff race, and I think more than anything have a positive attitude going into Montreal. ... Try to go into their place and steal some points."
--Field Level Media