The Seattle Sounders are in the midst of the longest winless streak in their four-year history. They hope a matchup with the New England Revolution, whom they swept last season, will be just what they need to put an end to the skid.
The Sounders will be desperate to score first as they go for their first win in eight games in a road contest against the Revolution, who haven't lost in their last five home matches.
Seattle (7-5-4) has continued to sink since its red-hot start to the season, falling 2-1 at Portland on Sunday to leave the club at 0-4-3 in its last seven. The Sounders have been outscored 13-6 in that span after posting six shutouts and allowing three goals while opening a franchise-best 7-1-1.
"We put ourselves in a hole. In the last seven games we've played out of the hole every time," coach Sigi Schmid told MLS' official website. "When you're constantly playing from behind it makes it difficult. It's just not good enough."
Seattle has trailed in each game of its winless streak after leading in every victory during the first nine games.
"We seem to dig ourselves a hole and try to dig ourselves out at the last minute and in this league you can't do that," forward Eddie Johnson said after scoring his team-leading fifth goal Sunday. "We can't keep putting ourselves in these positions. Trying to come back is difficult."
The Sounders are 0-2-2 in their past four road games, losing the last two.
They didn't have a problem at Gillette Stadium last year, though, winning 2-1 on Oct. 1 on a pair of goals from Fredy Montero. That gave them a season sweep of the Revs and a third win in four matchups in the series.
While Seattle is slumping badly, New England (5-4-7) has managed to go 2-1-4 after losing four of five. The Revs have picked it up offensively in the past seven contests, scoring 15 goals after managing eight in their first nine games.
That newfound scoring touch lifted New England to a comeback in its last game, erasing a two-goal deficit with a late rally to earn a 2-all tie with Toronto last Saturday. Chris Tierney scored in second-half stoppage time after Blake Brettschneider's goal in the 71st minute.
The Revs could be in good position to continue their scoring prowess against a Sounders team playing on weary legs. Seattle, which is also playing U.S. Open Cup games, is in the midst of a stretch of 10 contests in 33 days.
"It's going to be a tough one, but fortunately they've had a lot of games," Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms said. "They're doing well in the Open Cup, so they've had a tough stretch of games. A lot of flying, a lot of traveling, so (we'll) look to jump on them early and often."
Making matters worse for Seattle, Montero won't be available after being suspended following his ejection in stoppage time against the Timbers. He has four goals in five career appearances against New England.
New England has posted back-to-back shutouts at home and has gone 3-0-2 in its last five at Gillette.