The Columbus Crew were eliminated from playoff contention last weekend, but remain focused on ending the season on a positive note Sunday against Toronto FC.
Sixth in the Eastern Conference of MLS on 49 points, Columbus could finish the regular season just one point out of a playoff spot with a third win this year against Toronto.
The Crew (14-12-7) have seven more points than Western Conference playoff team Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but with no crossover teams this season, will miss out on the postseason.
The new goal for Columbus is to the end of the year well and sweep the rivalry against TFC, called the Trillium Cup. The Crew have won the first two meetings between the teams this season.
"Toronto FC is our rival, it makes the game ... much more important," Columbus midfielder Eddie Gaven said. "This game definitely means a lot."
Columbus enters the match with a stellar home record of 10-3-3, and will be in position to add another win against Toronto (5-20-8), which will finish with the worst record in the league.
The Crew will have to shake the latest of four defeats over their last seven, 3-2, against D.C. United, and focus on TFC at Crew Stadium.
"You always want to finish the season on a positive note. Of course, we didn't make the playoffs this year, but we want to go into the offseason feeling good about ourselves," Gaven said.
"To get a win against Toronto would definitely help."
Toronto enters the match on a 13-game winless streak, going just 0-9-4 during that span. TFC started the season on a nine-match losing streak, but recovered to go 5-2-4 from late May to mid-July before everything fell apart again.
Just 2-11-3 on the road, Toronto also completed CONCACAF Champions League play earlier this week with a 1-0 defeat against Santos in Mexico, but hopes to end MLS play with a better result.