FC Cincinnati have a chance Saturday to build something they have rarely found during their expansion season: momentum.
After snapping a six-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory against Houston last weekend, Cincinnati (4-13-2, 14 points) will go for two in a row Saturday when it travels to Chicago to meet the Fire (5-8-7, 22 points) for the first time.
"We want to confirm the good performance we had against Houston," Cincinnati interim coach Yoann Damet said. "We want to make sure we produce the same type of content against them and that we can show we can get results away from home."
Kekuta Manneh, Rashawn Dally and Victor Ulloa scored to give Cincinnati a 3-0 lead against Houston on Saturday. The Blue and Orange had to hold on after a Romell Quioto penalty kick and an own goal by Nick Hagglund got the Dynamo within a goal in the final 12 minutes.
"Finally, a positive feeling after a win," Cincinnati midfielder Leo Bertone said. "We're still working harder for this weekend ... I hope we can take this positive energy. We have to defend good, and we have to be patient and take our opportunities."
The Fire defeated defending MLS Cup champion Atlanta United 5-1 a week and a half ago, snapping a six-game winless stretch, and hoped to use that momentum last weekend at Sporting Kansas City. But Chicago suffered a 1-0 defeat, extending its road winless streak to 22 matches.
The Fire could move into seventh place in the Eastern Conference, the final playoff spot, with a victory against Cincinnati.
"It felt like we exorcised a few demons," Fire midfielder Dax McCarty said after the victory against Atlanta. "I know it's been tough for our team and our fans to be patient (with the offense) ... we're right there. We're right there.
"We've dug ourselves in a little bit of a hole, but it's not catastrophic. We're not out of it by any means. We're going to pick up some confidence with this (win). We've got a lot of games in July; we can pick up a lot of ground."
The Fire will be without Bastian Schweinsteiger on Saturday, as the German legend will be serving a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation. Fellow midfielder Djordje Mihailovic is expected to be available after returning from the CONCACAF Gold Cup, in which he played for the United States.