Hunter Jumper's first career goal in MLS held up as the difference on Friday as the Chicago Fire came away with a crucial three points in a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Park.
The win vaults the Fire up to 34 points from 24 matches as they remain in the thick of the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference, just two points behind the Houston Dynamo for the fifth and final postseason berth.
Sporting KC, meanwhile, continued its run of poor form and has lost four of its last five matches in league play.
The visitors kept the majority of the possession early on, but it was the Fire that grabbed the lone goal 13 minutes into the match when Jalil Anibaba whipped a cross toward the back post. It was kept in play by Dilly Duka and Jumper nodded it home with a diving header.
Sporting KC's best chance of the first half came in the 31st minute when Matt Besler launched a long throw-in into the box from the right touch line. Teal Bunbury got on the end of it with a wicked half-volley, but it flew over the crossbar.
After the break, Chicago had a brilliant chance to make it a two-goal game when Chris Rolfe got behind the Sporting back line and went in one-on-one with SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, but he pushed his strike wide of the left post.
The visitors had one final golden chance to get a point from the match as Patrick Nyarko took down Graham Zusi on the edge of the penalty area in stoppage time. Zusi played it short to Soony Saad, but Saad smashed his shot well into the stands as the Fire held on for a critical victory.