The New England Revolution's next three games are on the road, and starting that stretch against the Colorado Rapids wouldn't seem to bode well.
Kevin Alston's potential return, however, may give them a lift.
Alston will be available for the first time since being diagnosed with leukemia in April as the Revolution attempt to beat the Rapids on the road for the first time in 11 years Wednesday night.
New England (6-6-6) has won once in seven road games since opening the season with a 1-0 victory at Chicago.
The Revolution haven't won at all in their past 10 visits to Colorado (7-7-6), going 0-6-4 since a victory on June 15, 2002, when the Rapids played at Sports Authority Field.
They're 0-2-3 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, surrendering 10 goals.
Having Alston potentially starting could improve New England's defensive play in the only season meeting with the Rapids.
The defender, an All-Star in 2010, started the season's first four games, but has been out while undergoing treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia.
"It is huge. It was tough to keep my head in a stable place," Alston said. "So many things are going through my mind and I'm just trying to stay grounded. You just want to take all that away from you and just focus on the happy things. Soccer is my life and being around those guys, they're like my brothers. Just to be able to go in to the locker room, still interact with them, watch them practice, it just made things a lot easier."
The Revs may need it to shake out of a 1-3-1 funk that continued with Saturday's 2-1 loss to Houston, the team they're five points behind for the fifth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
While Alston may solidify New England's defense, Saer Sene is giving the offense some punch. The French forward has a goal in each of the last two games after finding the net on his only shot Saturday.
He had a goal and an assist to rally the Revolution to a 2-1 home win over the Rapids on May 2, 2012 - the last meeting between these clubs.
Colorado is unbeaten in three games (2-0-1), but settled for a scoreless tie with MLS-worst D.C. on July 7.
Rookie Deshorn Brown came up empty on eight shots - four on goal - after scoring three times over the four previous contests.
Despite tying Atiba Harris for the team lead with five goals, Brown has just one in nine home games, and none in seven starts.
It's unclear if veteran goalkeeper Matt Pickens will be back in net for the first time since breaking his arm in a 1-1 tie with Salt Lake on March 16. He's backed up Clint Irwin in each of the last two games, watching the rookie record shutouts in each.
Pickens started Friday's 2-1 exhibition loss to Santos Laguna of Mexico.
"I just wanted to go out there and kick a ball around and see opponents, see different things I don't get to see in training," Pickens told the team's official website. "For me personally it was a good run. I enjoyed it - I missed - and it feels good being back out there."