A pivotal matchup in the Eastern Conference playoff race takes place at Gillette Stadium on Saturday as fifth-place New England Revolution hosts fourth-place Houston Dynamo.
The Dynamo owns a three-point lead over the Revs with five games to play, while there are three teams within two points of New England for the final playoff spot, leaving little room for error.
New England was in jeopardy of dropping crucial points against D.C. United after Scott Caldwell's own goal but the Revs behind, 1-0, at halftime.
After losing their previous two games the Revs could not afford to drop more points against lowly United, and Jay Heaps saw his team respond with second- half goals from Diego Fagundez and Lee Nguyen to claim three vital points.
"For me and for our team we are going one game at a time," said Heaps after the win. "So every game we step on the field we are preparing for a must-win. And I think we're at the point now in the season where points are vital and we have to go out there and do whatever we can to get three, especially at home."
New England will close the season with three of its final four games on the road after Saturday's home contest, placing added importance on a positive result for the Revs.
Houston snapped a four-match winless streak with back-to-back wins, including a 5-1 triumph against Chivas USA last weekend.
The Dynamo gave away a bad goal in the 50th minute to Chivas midfielder Eric Avila that leveled the match at 1-1.
Houston could have fallen apart after a goal like that, but the fact that the Dynamo scored four times over the final 40 minutes indicates the improved character of the team.
"I think that shows the character of this team," Dynamo forward Will Bruin said about the team's response. "A few weeks ago, maybe we put our heads down and feel sorry for ourselves. This week we've had a few meetings and have really come together a lot as a team and these last two performances have shown that."
Houston kept that positive momentum going in midweek as well with a 2-0 victory over W Connection in CONCACAF Champions League play, leaving the team in position to advance to the knockout round.
After the New England match, Houston will play its next three league games at home, setting the team up for another strong push late in the season.