Fresh off of a coaching change, the Columbus Crew will look to reverse their fortunes on Wednesday when they welcome the Houston Dynamo to Crew Stadium.
Columbus appointed Brian Bliss as its new boss on Monday, marking a new era at Crew Stadium as Robert Warzycha saw his four-year tenure in charge of the club come to an end.
Bliss, the club's Technical Director, will serve as the head coach on an interim basis until a permanent replacement to Warzycha is identified.
"Sometimes in these situations a fresh perspective and a new voice are needed," said Bliss. "I'm confident in our players and the talent on our roster. I know these guys have a lot of fight in them, and they have the desire to continue battling and finish strong. Our fans deserve to see the best out of this team, and I plan to do what's necessary to make that happen."
The final straw for Warzycha seemed to come in the club's most recent outing, a 1-0 home defeat to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday. It was a second straight loss for the Crew as they were outscored 5-0 over the two-game skid, leaving Columbus third from bottom in the Eastern Conference with 29 points.
Houston, meanwhile, is right in the thick of a tight battle for a postseason place.
The Dynamo enter the midweek tussle in sixth place in the East on 37 points, level with the New England Revolution.
After New England was held to a 1-1 draw at Toronto FC on Friday, Houston squandered a tremendous opportunity to move into a playoff slot, instead claiming just a point from a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire on Sunday to remain New England's equal.
But it could have been worse for the Dynamo as they escaped Toyota Park without defeat despite conceding first. Adam Moffat's late strike, which came in typical Adam Moffat fashion, helped earn the Dynamo a share of the spoils.
"I feel like when Adam gets that ball, that's a goal," Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall said. "I've taken enough shots from him in training that I don't envy any goalkeeper on the receiving end of that shot."
Houston fell behind in the first half by way of an own goal turned in by Bobby Boswell following a free kick delivery from Mike Magee. The Dynamo will need to be more sound on defending set pieces if they hope to amount to anything in the postseason.
"They put us under pressure. They scored a goal on a set piece, and that's something we need to work on and get tighter," said Brad Davis. "We've allowed too many goals this year on set pieces .We need a little fire lit under us, came in here at halftime and had a good chat, and came out with the right attitude. I felt that the second half showed a team that is fighting."