Two teams trending in opposite directions will meet at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday as the Colorado Rapids host Seattle Sounders FC.
Seattle has been a perennial MLS powerhouse since entering the league in 2009, but the early part of this season has not been nearly as successful for the Western Conference club.
Through the first five games of the campaign, the Sounders are the only MLS side without a win, a club-record winless streak to start a season.
The club's once-formidable attacking line, led by Fredy Montero, has been deserted with the replacements failing to pick up the slack. The Sounders have managed just two goals thus far, a far cry from the five goals that they netted in just the first two matches of last season.
Seattle has been crippled by injuries to Brad Evans, Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins throughout the start of the new season, but finding success on the offensive end will not simply come about getting those players healthy.
"You can't say once those guys come back, all our problems are solved," said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. "At the same time, the reality is that we haven't had a full practice. We haven't had a chance to work on any of these combinations with the whole group. We have played nine different lineups in nine games [including CONCACAF Champions League]. We've had to mix the lineup all the time. We haven't found any consistency in that form."
Colorado also started with an 0-3-2 record through its first five games of the season, but the Rapids have managed to piece together a two-game winning streak since then.
Following a 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers on March 30, the club turned its poor start around with back-to-back 1-0 wins against Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA. Head coach Oscar Pareja deployed the same back line for both victories, a decision that raised some eyebrows given the fact that it meant leaving Drew Moor on the bench.
"I'm a competitive guy," Moor said. "I want to be playing 90 minutes as much as possible. Obviously, I'm not okay with me not starting, but in a positive way because I understand why I didn't start. The defense has been playing extremely well over the course of the last three games."
According to Pareja, though, Moor still figures prominently into his plans for the Rapids.
"Drew is a leader of this group," Pareja said. "Drew is a starter and he knows it. The [defense] played a good game against Portland, [and they] played a good game against Salt Lake. ... I thought he came on in the second half and played very well."