If there was ever a time for the Chicago Fire to end its 21-match road winless streak, this Saturday at Sporting Kansas City might be it.

The Fire (5-7-7 22 points), who are 0-15-6 in away matches since a 2-1 victory at Orlando City SC on May 26, 2018, are coming off a 5-1 victory at home against defending MLS Cup champion Atlanta United on Wednesday.

C.J. Sapong scored twice and Nico Gaitan had a goal and three assists as the Fire snapped a six-match winless streak (0-3-3). Chicago had a 2-0 lead when Atlanta's Leandro Gonzalez Pirez received a red card for handling the ball to deny an obvious goal-scoring opportunity in the 11th minute. The Fire scored all five of their goals in the first half.

With the win, Chicago pulled within one point of the seventh and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

"It felt like we exorcised a few demons," Fire midfielder Dax McCarty said. "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."

That same day, Sporting KC (4-7-7, 19 points) suffered a 5-1 defeat at home to Los Angeles FC that left the reigning Western Conference regular-season champs tied for last place. LAFC scored four second-half goals.

"The game, right now, comes down to small little details and right now things aren't going our way," veteran defender Matt Besler told Sporting's official website. "It's disappointing, and I can tell you that there's nobody that's more frustrated than us right now. We have to live it every single day ... I don't know what to say other than we're trying to get back (on track)."

Chicago is a respectable 8-11-9 all-time at Kansas City, though the Fire is winless in its past six (0-4-2) there since June 2012.

--Field Level Media

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