Sandy, UT – Real Salt Lake against Seattle Sounders FC is usually one of the most-anticipated games in MLS, but both enter their Fourth of July meeting desperate for a win.
Real has lost its last three games - the first two at home. Seattle is winless in a club-record eight straight matches.
So when the clubs meet at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday, fireworks could pale in comparison to the celebration - if either side wins.
RSL (10-6-2) still sits comfortably in second place in the Western Conference, but coach Jason Kreis was not happy with the three-game slide.
"We need to stick together and keep reminding ourselves that right now we're not getting the job done," Kreis said, "but still believe that we can. At some point it'll come right for us."
Real Salt Lake is 6-3-0 at home, but it lost to the San Jose Earthquakes and the Los Angeles Galaxy in its last two home fixtures. Real then lost at the Columbus Crew over the weekend, 2-0, as its losing streak reached three.
"I think that we've put a lot of pride in doing things like not losing three in a row. It feels different. Losing two games in a row at home puts us in a place that we aren't familiar with," Kreis said.
"I still believe in this group, they are going to need to lead themselves a little bit out of this."
RSL was without captain Kyle Beckerman against Columbus as he served a one- game suspension. He will be back against Seattle, and Kreis will look to any option he can to end the slide - especially at home.
Seattle (7-5-5) has been in even worse shape, as it last won on May 9 against FC Dallas. Real defeated the Sounders, 1-0, at CenturyLink Field on May 12 and Seattle has not won since, with four losses and four draws in its last eight.
Although Seattle has won in the U.S. Open Cup, it will host Chivas USA in the semifinals July 10, its MLS form has dropped it 10 points off the pace in the Western Conference. San Jose leads the West with 36 points.
Seattle had its first win since early May within grasp over the weekend, but a last-second goal from Diego Fagundez gave the New England Revolution a 2-2 tie at Gillette Stadium to spoil a brace from Eddie Johnson.
"We came back and we scored two goals and unfortunately they scored in the last minute, and we're just disappointed in that," Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso said on the club's website.
Unfortunately for Seattle, it will be without Alonso on Wednesday, as he will sit one match for accumulated yellow cards. It's bad timing for Seattle, but RSL will take any break it can get at this point.