BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Just a few weeks ago, the Chicago Fire's attacking problems seemed to be all but gone.
Mike Magee had become the consistent goalscorer the club sorely needed, Dilly Duka had become the attacker the Fire always thought he could be, and Chris Rolfe had begun to show some semblance of his 2012 form.
But in losses to Sporting Kansas City, when Magee pointed out the Fire's lack of attacking initiative, and Vancouver, when the Fire couldn't finish several chances they created early, the Chicago offense has sputtered.
"We have to score our chances," Rolfe told MLSsoccer.com. "I had chances in the first half [against Vancouver] to score and I had a chance to score in the second half early on. For me, I wasn't good enough for myself, and then the team obviously feeds off of that."
After the two subpar offensive performances, the Fire have begun to drift back out of the playoff race after a six-game unbeaten streak in league play pushed them to within a few points of fifth place.
While Magee didn't seem to see the same issues on Sunday that led him to criticize his team the week before, Chicago just couldn't create anything late against the Whitecaps.
"Maybe we lost some confidence because we had a bunch of chances to get a goal and then we didn't," Magee told MLSsoccer.com. "Obviously at halftime we said all the right things and knew everything to do and we just came out flat."
Chicago have a chance to regain some of their attacking confidence when they host the Eastern Conference's most scored-upon team, D.C. United, on Saturday (8:30 pm ET, watch on MLS Live).
The Fire regained some of their attacking mojo against D.C. on June 2, when they beat United 2-0 in just their second multi-goal game of the season. But since that game, United have shuffled their roster, leaving Rolfe at a loss as far as what to expect.
"They're a team that's in a little bit of transition and it's hard to know what you're going to get out of a team like that," Rolfe said. "We're going to take this just as serious as if we had Montreal coming in here or another team."
Against one of the league's struggling teams, now may be the perfect time for Chicago to make headway as they try to regain their offensive form and climb their way back up the standings.
"The last two weeks, I think that we've lost and every team that we needed to lose [to move up the standings] won," Magee said. "We're desperate for points."