Kansas City, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Red Bull New York and Sporting Kansas City will be jostling for position in the Eastern Conference table when the two sides meet up at Sporting Park on Sunday.
Both clubs have been assured spots in the postseason, though they will be keen to avoid the dreaded play-in game between the fourth and fifth seeds.
Sporting enters the weekend in third place on 49 points, two points ahead of the Red Bulls.
Both sides are coming off of CONCACAF Champions League matches during the week, but New York came off a little worse for the wear.
The Red Bulls entered Wednesday's clash with the Montreal Impact already eliminated from CCL contention, so head coach Mike Petke was able to deploy a weakened side to give rest to his first-choice players.
That appears to be have been the best course of action after the Red Bulls were bested by the Columbus Crew in a 3-1 home defeat in league play last weekend.
"Yeah, I mean to me it just seemed like the effort," said RBNY goalkeeper Luis Robles with regard to what went wrong against Columbus. "We didn't seem to have the same sort of effort we did in the other games, and sure there's going to be moments where the quality isn't there, but the effort usually can make up for it and when both of them were missing for huge stretches of game, it's very difficult to beat a good team like Columbus."
"We could've advanced in positioning today and had a better situation, but nonetheless in the playoffs anything's possible," Robles continued. "You can have the favorable situation and it not work out, and you can go on the road and if you have the right mentality and get those results and you build momentum going into the next round. That plays a lot into it, so obviously today was not our best effort, but if we can go to Kansas City and give them a good game and get a favorable result then that's the momentum we need for the next round."
Sporting, meanwhile, saw Benny Feilhaber and Igor Juliao sustain first-half injuries in the club's 2-0 defeat at Saprissa on Thursday.
"Benny's might have been (a surface injury). I don't know about Igor," SKC head coach Peter Vermes said after the match. "Igor has played so many games for us this year and we just don't have anyone else we can throw out there at the moment. We're going to have to mix and match again going into the next (game)."