Toronto FC has had a long time to process their last loss.
The Reds (12-8-7), who play the Fire in Chicago on Saturday, are coming off a 1-0 loss to the Montreal Impact on Aug. 27 which snapped both their eight-game unbeaten streak and nine-match unbeaten streak at BMO Field. Toronto had a bye week last week.
"It was a long week especially [after] losing the last game, so after a tough loss like that, you want to just get back at it," said defender Steven Beitashour.
The loss saw the Reds drop in the Eastern Conference standings. Toronto, the top seed in the East two weeks ago, is now third, one point back of New York City FC for first place with a game in hand.
With six matches remaining following Saturday's visit to Chicago, Beitashour, a veteran of seven MLS seasons, understands the importance of going into the playoffs on a roll.
"It's huge. I don't know what the stats are, but typically the team that wins the MLS Cup is on a bit of a roll just to finish off the season and going into the playoffs," he said. "It's one of those things that you would like to win Supporter's Shield, have the best record, and win every single game. But at the end of the day, you want to be healthy and have good momentum going in to the playoffs."
TFC heads to Chicago for the second of three matches with the Fire this season. The Reds won the previous meeting 1-0 on July 9 at BMO Field.
Captain Michael Bradley and with forwards Jozy Altidore and Tosaint Ricketts are back with the team this weekend following the international break. Coach Greg Vanney wouldn't say whether any of the three would be in the starting lineup on Saturday, but hopes to work them into the game at some point.
This weekend could also see Panamanian midfielder Armando Cooper make his TFC debut.
The Fire (6-12-8) are unbeaten in nine consecutive matches at Toyota Park and enter Saturday's game following a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Union last weekend. Chicago is ninth in the Eastern Conference and trail sixth place Orlando City SC by eight points for the final playoff spot.
"For me, they're a team that is very dangerous on the counter attack," Vanney said. "They are very committed to the defending side at getting numbers behind the ball and slowing things down. In order to score against them, more times than not you've got to break down a lot of guys.
"They're one of those dangerous teams because they're still fighting for their lives, but they still have something to fight for."
TFC is 5-9-8 in 22 MLS meetings with the Fire and have never won in Chicago, going 0-5-5 in 10 visits.