There's reason for optimism for the Philadelphia Union and the New England Revolution after they missed the playoffs last season.
Both teams posted impressive road wins last weekend and will try to extend their momentum Saturday when the Union look to stay unbeaten against the visiting Revolution.
Philadelphia (1-1-0) had 36 points and New England (1-0-0) finished with 35 in 2012, combining for five road victories during a pair of dismal seasons.
Both clubs, however, are brimming with confidence after going on the road this past weekend. Philadelphia bounced back from a 3-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City in its opener with a 2-1 win over Colorado on Sunday.
"It raises the confidence of the team and helps us put that first loss behind us," forward Jack McInerney told the Union's official website.
New England is in position to open with back-to-back victories for the first time after a 1-0 victory over Chicago last Saturday, getting Jerry Bengtson's goal in the 62nd minute.
"We have a new team and some very good players here that we are trying to pull together," coach Jay Heaps said. "Wins on the road in this league aren't easy. To get a road win in the first game of this season is a great sign."
Philadelphia is 4-0-3 against New England, going 2-0-1 last season. The Revolution have gone 258 minutes without scoring against the Union.
"I feel we match up against them well," Philadelphia defender Amobi Okugo said. "We've never have lost against them, but they've changed their culture a little bit. They've got some technical guys like Lee Nguyen and especially with Jerry Bengtson, who's there to pounce on your mistakes, is going to be a tough matchup."
McInerney, who scored Sunday, had two winning goals against New England last season.
He could find things more difficult against the Revolution's new-look back line, bolstered by Andrew Farrell. The top overall pick in this year's draft, Farrell played all 90 minutes in the opener.
"He certainly looked comfortable and I think that's one of the most important things," Heaps said. "What I really liked was his pressure in the game. He won a lot of balls and played some very good balls forward."
New England played without defender Chris Tierney, whose status is uncertain due to a sprained left ankle.
Heaps also deserved credit for inserting midfielder Kelyn Rowe for Donnie Smith in the 53rd minute. Rowe set up Bengtson's winning goal.
Philadelphia will have to be wary of Juan Toja, who made his first start with New England after five appearances as a substitute in 2012. Toja was a two-time All-Star with FC Dallas.
"Really this is a new New England team, they're well coached, they're well organized," Union coach John Hackworth said. "They've proven they can go on the road with their victory at Chicago so now I think that presents a new challenge for us."
The Union have gotten off to good starts in both contests, with Sebastien Le Toux scoring the first goal of the game in the opener and Okugo giving them a 1-0 lead against the Rapids.