The Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders will hope to boost their playoff hopes by claiming victory in Denver on Tuesday night.
Last season's Western Conference finalists both currently find themselves outside of the playoff picture and will be missing key names this week due to a combination of injuries and Gold Cup call-ups.
In the possible absence of Shkelzen Gashi and Axel Sjoberg for the home side and the confirmed unavailability of Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan for the visitors, it will fall on veterans such as Kevin Doyle and Clint Dempsey to lead their clubs to a potentially vital three points.
|Game||Colorado Rapids vs Seattle Sounders|
|Date||Tuesday, July 4|
|Time||19:00 local, 21:00 ET|
TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM
In the U.S., the match will be available to watch live on television in the Seattle area on Q13 Fox and in the Denver area on Altitude.
It can be watched live on television on TSN throughout Canada and streamed online on MLS Live in the rest of the USA in regions where blackout restrictions do not apply.
|Rest of USA||MLS Live (online)|
SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Goalkeepers||Berner, Howard, MacMath|
|Defenders||Castillo, Da Fonte, Ford, Miller, Sjoberg, Watts, Williams|
|Midfielders||Azira, Boateng, Gatt, Hairston, Hamilton, Perez, Powers, Saeid, Serna|
|Forwards||Badji, Calvert, Doyle, Gashi, Gordon|
Axel Sjoberg, Shkelzen Gashi, Dillon Powers and Joshua Gatt are all rated as questionable for Colorado having missed the 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, while Bobby Burling is definitely out.
Potential starting XI: Howard; Castillo, Da Fonte, Miller, Williams; Boateng, Saeid; Hairston, Doyle, Serna; Badji.
|Goalkeepers||Frei, Meredith, Miller|
|Defenders||Alfaro, Jones, Marshall, Nouhou, Torres|
|Midfielders||Alonso, Kovar, Lodeiro, Mathers, Shipp, Svensson, Wingo|
|Forwards||Adekoya, Bruin, Dempsey|
Brad Evans is suspended for Seattle after being sent off last time out against the Portland Timbers. Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan, Jordy Delem and Oniel Fisher are all with their national teams ahead of the Gold Cup, while Seyi Adekoya is questionable due to an ankle sprain.
The Sounders signed right-back Kelvin Leerdam this week, but he will not be available until the MLS transfer window opens on July 10.
Potential starting XI: Frei; Svensson, Torres, Marshall, Jones; Shipp, Alonso; Lodeiro, Dempsey, Kovar; Bruin.
BETTING & GAME ODDS
Colorado are 13/8 favorites to win at home, according to Oddschecker, with the Sounders priced at 17/10 and the draw available at 12/5.
Clint Dempsey, Dominique Badji and Will Bruin are 6/1 joint-favorites to score first.
It's easy to forget with a glance at the current MLS standings, but this is a meeting between last season's two Western Conference finalists.
The Seattle Sounders went on to win the MLS Cup after defeating the Colorado Rapids over two legs last November, but both clubs have struggled to build on their success in 2016 and it is likely at least one will miss this year's playoffs.
They are currently separated by two points, with the Sounders sitting eighth in the West and the Rapids a place lower having played a game fewer.
Neither club is alone in MLS in struggling to pick up points away from home, but few have had it as bad as Brian Schmetzer and Pablo Mastroeni's teams. The Rapids have lost all seven of their road games so far this season, while Seattle has won one of 10.
Goals have been the problem for the Rapids. Their success last season was built on their ability to grind out 1-0 wins, which was never likely to be viable in the longer term.
They found a way to keep their 2017 campaign alive after an awful start, though, by winning four consecutive home games in May and June and got back to winning ways at Dick's Sporting Goods Park by beating the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.
Given the Sounders' struggles on their travels, Colorado cannot afford to pass up the opportunity to put another three points on the board before difficult road matches in Toronto and San Jose.