Colorado Rapids head to Toyota Stadium for a third time on Wednesday night (Altitude 6:00 p.m.), to face an out-of-sorts FC Dallas side that has not won a game in two months.
Dallas clinched the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup clash at the end of June, before the Rapids took a point with a goalless draw in the previous league meeting on August 12.
This time, the Rapids - though not uprooting trees themselves - head to Frisco knowing they are facing a team in free-fall.
When FC Dallas won 2-1 at Montreal Impact on July 22, they climbed to 34 points from 19 games, and were considered among the top teams in MLS.
When they lost 4-1 at Minnesota United FC last Saturday, they remained on 38 points from 29 games, and extended their winless run to 10 matches.
Four points out of a possible 30 has seen them drop back from the playoff pack, though their early season form means they are not entirely out of the race.
They sit eighth in the Western Conference, one point behind sixth-placed San Jose Earthquakes (with a game in hand), and three adrift of Real Salt Lake (with two games in hand), in fifth.
Matt Hedges returns from suspension. He missed the loss at Minnesota. Tesho Akindele, who gave Dallas the lead at the weekend with their first goal in three games, will watch from the stands after then being sent off for the first time in his MLS career.
The Rapids felt they deserved a little more from their display at Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Dominique Badji scored for the third successive game, to take his season’s tally to nine, but the Whitecaps claimed all three points in a 2-1 victory.
That loss took the Rapids’ road record to 1-12-2, though they will smell an opportunity to double their away wins when they take on the Texas team.
Interim Head Coach, Steve Cooke, kept faith with the same 11 for a third game in a row last weekend - something which has not happened since 2010. Stefan Aigner played 30 minutes, but still awaits his first start in MLS. Shkëlzen Gashi remains a doubt, after missing the Vancouver trip with a left hamstring injury. Striker Kevin Doyle sits out again due to concussion.
The Rapids follow this encounter with three remaining home games, followed by a trip to Seattle Sounders FC on October 22. The three-game home stand starts on Saturday, against Montreal Impact (TICKETS).
HOW TO FOLLOW
Radio: Altitude 950; La Invasora 87.7FM (Spanish)
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Assistant (bench): Jeffrey Greeson
Assistant (opposite): Ian Anderson
Fourth Official: Younes Marrakchi
VAR: Ted Unkel