A pair of .500 teams will square off at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday as the Colorado Rapids play host to the New England Revolution.
Colorado returns to action after a bye week as it looks to extend its unbeaten run to three games.
The Rapids earned successive wins against two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, upsetting the Montreal Impact, 4-3, at the Stade Saputo on June 29 and dominating Red Bull New York in a 2-0 home win on July 4 before being held to a scoreless draw by lowly D.C. United last time out.
"You have to give credit to the players today that got 23 attempts at goal. Probably they doubled the attempts that we had in the last game but we couldn't score," Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said after the draw with United. "The game is cruel. The game is like that and today was that day. We couldn't get the ball in the back of the net and then that���s what makes the difference."
Shane O'Neill has proven to be a key player for the Rapids this season. Colorado is 5-0-5 when O'Neill starts and 2-7-1 when he comes off the bench or is absent from the lineup. The midfielder has started two games since his return from the Fifa U-20 World Cup, but he was taken off after 54 minutes against D.C. United after seeing a yellow card and nearly being sent off.
O'Neill is one caution away from suspension due to yellow card accumulation, but Pareja sees no reason to try and modify his style of play.
"The best part that I have from Shane is his aggressiveness and his determination and his toughness in the game. And if I take that away from him then that���s a big piece of the game," said Pareja. "He was hesitating because he's young. ... So I wanted to protect him but at the same time I wanted to bring fresh legs with Brian that would give us a little bit more going forward so that was the purpose."
New England will have an important player suspended for Wednesday's tilt after Dimitry Imbongo picked up a red card in the club's 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo at the weekend.
Imbongo's sending off came eight minutes from time, after all of the goals had been scored. It left New England with no realistic way back into the game, but the club can count itself unlucky to come away from the match empty handed.
Houston's opening goal came by way of a scorching blast from Adam Moffat, while the game-winning goal was another long shot from Moffat that struck the post and trickled into the net after bouncing off of goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
"I think we were all disappointed in that we gave up a goal at home, followed up to get back into it and gave up another one. They were deep range shots and we did everything right on certain things at that point," said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. "But overall, we didn't play well enough when we had the chance."