D.C. United will put its four-game winning streak to the test on Sunday when it heads to Red Bull Arena to face Red Bull New York in the latest installment of the Atlantic Cup.
The Eastern Conference leaders picked up a fourth successive win last time out, defeating the Philadelphia Union 1-0 at PPL Park.
D.C. now returns to the pitch for a second straight rivalry game, and that is just the way head coach Ben Olsen likes it.
"When the league changed the schedule where we would play New York and Philly and New England more I was pumped," Olsen told the Capital Soccer Show earlier this week. "I liked playing in those games as a player, I like coaching in them and I think people enjoy watching them."
The Red Bulls could be tired after two straight road games, but United captain Dwayne De Rosario insists that the home side will come to play.
"It's a game they are going to be up for regardless if they are fatigued or not," said De Rosario. "I think they got enough days to rest."
New York is winless in its last three matches, taking just two points from that haul. After a two-and-a-half-week break, the club returned to action with a 3-1 loss at the Chicago Fire before leaving it late in a 1-1 draw at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday.
The Red Bulls showed great resolve to pick up a point on the road, especially as they were missing Designated Players Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez.
"We have great players that are missing so we had to step up and get a point in a tough environment," winger Dane Richards told reporters after the match. "That showed depth and the coaches have done a great job."
Heath Pearce popped up with the tying goal four minutes from time, keeping the Red Bulls within touching distance of first-place D.C. United.
"I think it speaks to the character of the team both home and away that we're getting points and we're doing it in different ways," said Pearce. "We're not always playing the most attractive soccer, and sometimes we're getting points in an attractive way and sometimes we're grinding it out. That's the stuff that pays off later in the season."
While New York is trying to go level with D.C. on 30 points, the club will be playing for pride as well, looking to overturn a 4-1 road defeat suffered at RFK Stadium on April 22.