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Friday, April 16, 2010
Fire, United looking to stop early skid

By Charlie Corr

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Don't let your eyes fool you when looking at the current MLS standings. The Chicago Fire and D.C. United are at the bottom of the totem pole several games into the season. Not something you typically would expect from these two historic Eastern Conference foes.

But that is the unusual allure building up for Saturday's game, when the Fire travel to D.C. to take on United at RFK Stadium (6:30 p.m. CT kickoff).

"We saw the [D.C. United versus Philadelphia Union] game before we went out to play on Saturday [against San Jose], and after the game, that's exactly what came to my mind -- D.C. and Chicago, down at the bottom," Fire forward/midfielder Patrick Nyarko said. "We're three games into this, so there is no need to panic. We're going to come out strong and hopefully end up on top."

Of the two, the Fire (0-2-1) at least have a draw to show for their efforts, and one little swing in any of their previous matches could have changed the outcome on a more positive note. D.C. (0-3-0), on the other hand, went scoreless in its first two matches and fell to the expansion Union, 3-2, last week.

"We know they are struggling to get wins just like we are," Nyarko said. "It's going to be a tough matchup, obviously. They're playing at home. They need some points. We need some points. It sets up a great matchup. We're going for the win -- we're not going to lay down at all."

Chicago's defense has had some lapses, but United's defense has given up a league-high nine goals and will be shorthanded with Dejan Jakovic serving a suspension and Juan Manuel Pena out with a hamstring injury.

The Fire are playing better soccer than United right now, even if Chicago's record does not look glamorous on paper. D.C. already has garnered a few references to last season's five-victory New York Red Bulls, and until the team shows any sign of getting out of its funk, the edge has to go to the Fire. Even with the daunting task of trying to win at RFK.