Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas have the opportunity to make a statement on Wednesday when the two sides meet at FC Dallas Stadium.
Both teams are coming off of losses but still harbor hopes of postseason glory as the look of the Western Conference table could shift at the end of the midweek clash.
Real Salt Lake has lost two on the bounce, but the most recent defeat has left the Claret and Cobalt reeling. The club fell to the San Jose Earthquakes, 3-1, at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday, but it was the red cards issued to Fabian Espindola and Jamison Olave that could prove to have a telling impact as the duo will miss Wednesday's clash through suspension.
With Espindola and Olave proving to be regulars in the Real Salt Lake team, you would not be off base in suggesting that they would be sorely missed against FC Dallas. But head coach Jason Kreis stressed that it could be a blessing in disguise given how many minutes the two stars have logged thus far this season.
"We have a lot of ideas," Kreis told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We're in a good place now, because a lot of our guys have played lots of minutes. So I don't think that we're going to have much of an issue there."
FC Dallas will also be without one of its key pieces for Wednesday's match after the MLS Disciplinary Committee suspended the team's leading scorer, Blas Perez, on Tuesday for endangering the safety of his opponent. Perez elbowed Jordan Harvey in the 29th minute of the club's 1-0 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday.
The loss to Vancouver also featured a new face between the pipes. Kevin Hartman was a late scratch for Dallas after the veteran experienced back spasms in the pre-game warmup. It is unclear whether second-string 'keeper Chris Seitz, who made just his second appearance with the club since joining from the Philadelphia Union last summer, will feature against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, but he is likely be prepared for action.
"I felt comfortable going in," Seitz said of his start on Saturday. "Obviously, you never want to see somebody get injured, but I was definitely ready for the opportunity."
It was Dallas' third road loss of the season, but the club's 3-0-1 record at FC Dallas Stadium this season bodes well for Schellas Hyndman's men ahead of the crucial clash against Real Salt Lake.
"It's disappointing losing on the road, but we have to bounce back," Seitz said. "We have a game on Wednesday. We just have to get our legs underneath us. We have to keep on grinding, and if we do all the right things, we are going to get goals, and we are going to get wins."