The Columbus Crew couldn't build on last month's victory against D.C. United and will try to snap a three-game winless skid as the teams meet again this weekend.
The Crew will also seek to extend a five-game home unbeaten streak against D.C., which will attempt to avoid matching its longest single-season losing streak in franchise history Saturday night.
Columbus (2-2-3) used Ben Speas' goal in the 58th minute for a 2-1 win at D.C. on March 23, but has gone 0-1-2 since. Not even Dominic Oduro's first matchup with a former club could spark the Crew this past Saturday as they fell 1-0 in Chicago.
Columbus coach Robert Warzycha is hoping a three-game homestand will help his club break out of its lackluster start.
"We had a stretch of seven games, five away from home. Being on the road all the time is difficult," Warzycha said. "We have three games at home, hopefully we can pick up some points."
The Crew will try to start earning those points while extending their 4-0-1 home unbeaten run against D.C. (1-5-1), losers of four in a row. United endured their most recent five-game skid from July 15-Aug. 14, 2010, and had a team-worst six straight losses in the regular season from Sept. 30, 2006-April 28, 2007.
D.C. moved a step closer to matching its single-season mark with a 3-2 defeat to Philadelphia on Sunday. Goals from Perry Kitchen and Lionard Pajoy doubled D.C.'s total from its first six games, but United allowed all three goals in the first 26 minutes.
"We're having trouble putting together full games, where the offense is doing their part and the defense is doing what they do, and that's kind of been the theme," coach Ben Olsen said. "Offensively, I thought we created a lot of chances and we were dynamic at times and that's a positive. But the way we started a game, that's just unacceptable."
D.C. hasn't won in Columbus since Aug. 18, 2007, and has been outscored 7-2 in its last five visits. The Crew are 7-0-4 at home dating back to July 21 and have played to 1-all draws in their two games there this season.
Andy Gruenebaum recorded one of his career-high eight shutouts in 2012 in United's most recent, a 1-0 victory July 21.
"We have a solid defensive group. We have to start getting shutouts. That's the key. That starts with me," Gruenebaum said. "We have to go back to the drawing board and get control of the game, especially at home."
The Crew are 22-25-8 all-time against United in the regular season but are 15-7-5 at home.