MLS Preview: Heaps of head scratching at New England
Both DC United and New England Revolution will have to turn their form around if they are to win their top-of-the-table clash in MLS.
The Eastern Conference's leading two sides will meet in the capital on Sunday, with DC having lost their past two league games, while the Revolution have just one win in eight matches in all competitions.
New England's latest disappointment came on Wednesday, as they were dumped out of the U.S. Open Cup by third-tier club Charlotte Independence 1-0.
A stunning half-volley from Jorge Herrera in the 55th minute saw the Independence overcome New England, and Revolution coach Jay Heaps conceded his team were not up to scratch.
"Credit them, they did a great job," he said of Charlotte, according to the MLS official website.
"Not just their defence, it was a wonder strike as well. I think we were close a few times but in the end I think our chemistry was a little lacking and their chemistry was really strong."
New England will travel to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium for their clash with the East's leaders, having only won once in their past five trips to Washington.
DC, who defeated Pittsburgh Riverhounds 3-1 after extra time in their cup clash on Wednesday, will enter the MLS fixture on 28 points, four ahead of the Revolution, who also have a four-point gap on Orlando City.
Orlando are undefeated in six games in all competitions, although they needed penalties to overcome Charleston Battery in the cup after their fourth-round tie ended 4-4 through 120 minutes.
"In the end, I'm delighted we got through but I feel for the Battery a little bit. I've got to be honest - I thought they put so much effort in it to come back from 4-2 down," Orlando coach Adrian Heath said.
Heath's men visit Montreal Impact on Saturday, with the Canadian club having won their past three matches at home.
Colorado Rapids will begin the week's MLS action on Friday against FC Dallas, while Sporting Kansas City will finish the round when they take on Real Salt Lake in Utah on Sunday.
Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders host San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, while Toronto FC face New York City, Vancouver Whitecaps visit New York Red Bulls, Los Angeles Galaxy take on Philadelphia Union and Portland Timbers clash with Houston Dynamo.