[MLS PREVIEW] Coach Juan Carlos Osorio has won four of seven games since replacing Dave Sarachan but crunch time is at hand.
Next week, Chicago plays at Dallas and hosts D.C.; against those two teams and New York, it is a combined 0-4 in 2007, and it also must play D.C. again in October.
CHICAGO (8-10-5) vs. RED BULL NEW YORK (11-10-3)
Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Espanol
New York blanked Chicago, 1-0, and limited the Fire to just seven shots two weeks ago in the Meadowlands. Cuauhtemoc Blanco seldom threatened in that game, but with a sellout crowd expected and several players healthier, the fluid Fire attack should create many more opportunities.
Clint Mathis came off the field with a leg injury in the 37th minute of the Red Bulls' 3-0 loss to Chivas USA Sunday but is expected to make the traveling roster.
Defender Wilman Conde showed leadership and savvy in his MLS debut as Chicago beat Columbus, 1-0, last weekend and set up Paulo Wanchope for the game's only goal with a long ball out of the back. The notoriously nap-prone Red Bull back line needs to be wary.
Dema Kovalenko, sidelined for the past month with facial injuries he suffered in a car crash, played the last 28 minutes against Chivas USA and is fit enough to start. A tangle or two with Blanco is inevitable.
The Fire's Bakary Soumare is suspended for accumulated cautions, which might affect Osorio's decision of how to play in the back. Justin Mapp is still sidelined with a sprained ankle. Jozy Altidore is questionable.