A pair of struggling Western Conference teams will meet at the StubHub Center on Wednesday as the Los Angeles Galaxy play hosts to FC Dallas.
After a remarkably strong start to the season that saw the club claim five wins from its first seven matches, FC Dallas has cooled off considerably, going 0-4-1 since.
A 1-1 home draw against Chivas USA at the weekend to snap a four-game slide was a step in the right direction, but Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja remains disappointed.
"Obviously on a night where we were expecting to get three points, tonight was a disappointment for the team," Pareja said after the match. "We were hoping to get out of the struggle we've had during the last week and a half. The game became complicated after Chivas scored in the second half. During the first half we managed the game. We had some options, even if it was without the penetration that I would have liked to see from this team."
Fabian Castillo netted the equalizer for Dallas, an impressive show of resolve given that the striker nearly exited the match with an injury.
"It shows a lot of character," said Dallas midfielder Victor Ulloa. "Obviously, he's had that injury this whole week. Just for him to push and get back on the field, it was amazing. It shows how much we want it and how much we believe."
The Galaxy, meanwhile, have struggled to get going due to some disjointed scheduling.
Because of CONCACAF Champions League play earlier in the year, Los Angeles has played just eight MLS regular season matches, four fewer than Dallas.
The Galaxy's recent struggles resemble those of FC Dallas as Bruce Arena's men have produced a 0-2-2 record over their last four games. They most recently suffered a 1-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium, the second match in their last three in which they failed to score a goal.
"We just didn't finish; it's hard to believe they even got a goal," said Arena. "They weren't going to get a goal and we gave them a chance and to their credit they finished it. We're very disappointed to walk out of here without at least a point on a night where maybe we're not great, but the other team is not dangerous and we have got to find a way to get a goal."
Los Angeles will need to reshuffle the squad in order to compensate for the losses of Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez, who are away with the United States national team in preparation for the World Cup.
The loss at Houston marked the Galaxy's first match without the national team duo. Robbie Keane was dropped into an attacking midfield role to atone for Donovan's absence while Tommy Meyer made his first start in central defense to deputize for Gonzalez.