Fire aim to burn winless stretch when they face D.C. United

The Chicago Fire need a major spark to turn around a poor season. The Fire hope a trip to D.C. United on Saturday can get things headed in the right direction.

The Fire (2-8-4, 10 points) are mired in a four-match losing streak and have gone winless in their past seven (0-5-2) while looking for a first victory away from Chicago (0-3-3).

They have given up 26 goals, the fourth-highest total in MLS, while their 13 goals are tied for third-fewest in the league. That’s highlighted by a lack of consistent production from high-priced offseason acquisition Hugo Cuypers (three goals in 14 matches).

Amid the negatives his team has faced this season, Fire head coach Frank Klopas remains positive.

“For me, there’s never a doubt in my mind that we’re doing everything possible, so for that, I feel good,” he said. “It’s always a bad feeling obviously when we don’t get the results, but for me, the process and how we’ve prepared and the work that we’ve done, I feel very good about that.”

Brian Gutierrez has equaled Cuypers’ team-leading output of three goals. Fabian Herbers and Xherdan Shaqiri have two goals apiece, while Kellyn Acosta, Maren Haile-Selassie and Carlos Teran have a goal each.

D.C. United (4-5-5, 17 points), who will look to improve on a 3-3-1 home record, is ninth in the Eastern Conference and has lost its past two matches.

After a 4-1 home loss to the New York Red Bulls, it suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat at Inter Miami on Saturday, a match that saw Miami’s Leonardo Campana enter in stoppage time and score a last-gasp winner shortly thereafter.

As difficult a loss as that was, the mindset among the staff and players of D.C. United has been to simply move forward to the next match.

“We turn over quickly, we turn the page, and we focus on the next one,” D.C. goalkeeper Alex Bono said. “Yes, it was heartbreaking. There’s no sense in letting that lag on for a couple days.”

Christian Benteke has 11 goals, tied with Miami’s Luis Suarez for second in MLS and two goals behind Real Salt Lake’s Cristian Arango for the league lead. Benteke has not scored since a May 11 hat trick against Atlanta United.

D.C. has allowed 24 goals, the sixth-highest total in the league.

–Field Level Media