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Chicago Fire vs. DC United preview: Fire looking to secure No. 2 seed and avoid knockout match

The Chicago Fire wrap up the regular season at home Saturday against the D.C. United looking to secure the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and avoid having to play in the first-round knockout match.

Ned Dishman

The Chicago Fire finish up the regular season Saturday at home against a streaking D.C. United club with both teams gunning for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

One point separates the two teams in the standings, and a loss could drop the Fire (17-11-5) to the fourth or fifth seed, at which point it would have to play in the first-round knockout match on Wednesday. After missing six games with a calf injury, midfielder Pavel Pardo will return for the Fire. Forward Guillermo Franco will also be back after serving a two-game league suspension. Following a two-month stretch where the Fire won seven of eight matches, Chicago has lost three of its last four.

Meanwhile, the United (17-10-6) haven't lost in six games, going 5-0-1 without injured star captain Dwayne De Rosario. A draw in today's match would secure the two-seed for the United, but a loss and New York win would drop D.C. to fourth. The United clinched its first playoff berth since 2007 last Saturday with a 3-2 win over Columbus. De Rosario could return from his knee injury and play again this year if the United make it deep into the playoffs.

The match is set to begin at 4 p.m. ET.