It's been less than a month since the Columbus Crew met the Philadelphia Union, and neither club has played well since.
The Union are winless in their last eight matches and the Crew are winless in three since beating Philadelphia heading into Saturday night's rematch at PPL Park.
Columbus (11-9-8) leads the Eastern Conference with 41 points and Philadelphia (8-7-12) is third with 36, meaning both teams are on course to make the playoffs. Both are also in danger of missing out if their poor play continues.
The Union are 0-3-5 since a 3-0 victory at New England on July 17. They are tied on points with Houston, though D.C. United and New York are close behind.
"We could have won several games during the past couple of months," forward Veljko Paunovic told the Union's official website. "It's just a play here or a play there. It is the little things. We have to create chances and then finish those chances on both sides of the field. I don't think anyone is worried."
One of the Union's losses in this stretch was a 2-1 defeat at Columbus on Aug. 20. Philadelphia fell despite holding a 17-6 advantage in shots.
The Crew, however, have allowed 12 goals in going 0-2-1 since that contest. They were fortunate to avoid a third straight loss Wednesday while playing a man down after 11 minutes in a 2-2 draw with Houston.
"Under the circumstances, it was a great point at home," coach Robert Warzycha said. "Scoring two goals playing 79 minutes with a man down is great. The guys left everything on the field, scored two goals and almost got three points."
Emmanuel Ekpo was given a red card in the 11th minute for hitting Adam Moffat in the face with his hand. He is suspended for Saturday's game.
Defender Chad Marshall left at halftime with a hip injury. Marshall, the MLS defender of the year in 2008 and 2009, is hoping to play against the Union.
"It depends how he responds to treatment," Warzycha told the Crew's official website. "He may be available for the game against Philly, he may not."
Andres Mendoza scored twice on penalty kicks Wednesday, giving him 11 goals on the year to tie D.C.'s Charlie Davies for third in MLS. Mendoza had a goal and an assist in last month's win over the Union.
Philadelphia's last four home matches have ended in draws. The Union failed to score for the first time in nine matches in last Saturday's home draw against expansion Portland.
"We know what we have to do," Paunovic said. "We have so much talent on this club. With a tough match coming up and some rest, I think we'll be rested and ready to play."
The long drought without a victory has affected Philadelphia mentally as the season nears the end.
"We haven't won since July," midfielder Kyle Nakazawa said. "I think it's all in the back of our heads."