Both Toronto FC and visiting Sporting Kansas City will enter Friday's match in considerable need of a victory, even if the teams they field don't necessarily reflect that.
Toronto (5-6-3, 18 points) is winless in its last six matches, Kansas City has won only once in its past 10, and both will be forced to deal with a considerable number of absences due to international duty.
For TFC, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore are with the U.S. national team preparing for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, while Jonathan Osorio and Ashtone Morgan are with Canada's contingent.
New defensive signing Omar Gonzalez won't be eligible until the league's secondary transfer window opens in July, and he's also at the Gold Cup for the Americans. Defenders Auro and Chris Mavinga are both out with hamstring strains.
Yet none of that matters, said Toronto center back Drew Moor, whose team will try to keep hold of its place just above the Eastern Conference playoff line.
"All games are big," Moor said. "We know we're in a bit of a rut. We're well aware of that. So we certainly want to put things right on Friday night."
Meanwhile, UEFA European Championship qualifying has stripped players from Sporting Kansas City (3-5-6, 15 points).
Leading goal scorers Johnny Russell (Scotland) and Krisztian Nemeth (Hungary) have both departed, as has Nemeth's club and international teammate Botond Barath and Liechtenstein fullback Nicolas Hasler.
On the bright side, Hungarian attacker Daniel Salloi remains with Kansas City, defender Matt Besler could return after missing a game with a hamstring strain, and influential midfielders Felipe Gutierrez, Ilie Sanchez and Yohan Croizet are available.
A first road win of the season would move KC within a point of the playoff places. Sporting have made the postseason in eight consecutive seasons.
"It's time to win on Friday," Sanchez said. "You are asking me about people who is missing right now. We can't control that. ... We are who we are, and we need to use everything we have here to win on Friday."
--Field Level Media