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Fire open new chapter at Toronto

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Two sides toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings will look for signs of hope on Sunday when the Chicago Fire visit Toronto FC.

The Fire (7-15-6, 27 points), who are 12th in the conference and have languished near the bottom of the standings for most of the season, parted ways with head coach Raphael Wicky on Thursday. Assistant coach Frank Klopas will take over on an interim basis for the remainder of the season.

“Ultimately this is professional sports and we all depend on results,” Fire sporting director Georg Heitz said. “In the end, we didn’t deliver the results we all wanted to deliver.”

Chicago heads to Toronto unbeaten in its past two games following a spirited 2-0 win over New York City FC on Wednesday, after a four-game losing streak. Wicky’s firing came the next day. It will be the first of three straight on the road for the Fire, who are 1-10-1 away from home.

Toronto (5-15-7, 22 points) is feeling confident after a win against FC Cincinnati on Wednesday to move out of last place. The Reds are now unbeaten in their past three games after a nine-game winless stretch.

“The energy feels different, especially now that we’re not the bottom and so our eyes are on the next game,” forward Ifunanyachi Achara said. “The results are flowing because of the good performances we’ve been having and that gives us, the team, a lot of confidence to also come out, whoever we’re facing and get a result, even when we’re down.”

Toronto is unbeaten in its past 12 games against Chicago, going 9-0-3 during that time, including a 2-1 win against the Fire on July 24. Chicago hasn’t won against Toronto since April 4, 2015.

–Field Level Media

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