Nashville SC will look to build on their best away performance of the season when they visit the Chicago Fire on Sunday afternoon.
Hany Mukhtar scored a pair of goals to lift his season total to 12, while Walker Zimmerman, Randall Leal and Alistair Johnston also scored as Nashville (11-3-11, 44 points) defeated Inter Miami CF 5-1 on Wednesday.
The result pushed the club's second-place cushion to five points ahead of third-place New York City FC, with a cluster of teams close behind.
"To score five goals and win as resoundingly ... I think makes a bit of a statement from where we sit for, you know, our intentions to be in the postseason," Nashville head coach Gary Smith said.
Finishing in second place would guarantee Smith's side home-field advantage in the playoffs until the Eastern Conference final.
First-place New England (59 points) has virtually sealed the top spot, but few teams are in better form than Nashville, which has won four of its last five and has earned points in six of its last seven.
Chicago (6-15-5, 23 points) has been reduced to the role of potential spoiler after losing five matches during a six-game road trip, followed by a 3-2 home defeat to New England on Wednesday night.
Chicago's leading scorer Luka Stojanovic (seven goals) is also questionable with an ankle injury after coming off the bench against the Revolution.
The Fire twice responded from a goal down to tie Wednesday's game before conceding the game-winning goal to Carles Gil in second-half stoppage time.
Chicago has conceded 10 goals across its last four games, all defeats, and only has eight games remaining to close a 12-point gap on the seventh and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
"I think one of the characteristics of this team that we've shown all along is that we're fighters, we're never gonna give up," Fire defender Jonathan Bornstein said. "We created a lot of chances there (against New England) when it's 2-2. Disappointing, the results of late, but you can't fault the effort, you can't fault how this team is still fighting till the very end."
--Field Level Media