The bottom two teams in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer will battle on Sunday as Atlanta United host DC United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Atlanta are five points back of a playoff spot with just eight matches remaining, while the Black and Red were beaten handily yet again by the Philadelphia Union, losing 6-0 last weekend.
It has been another difficult season for the Five Stripes, as the most expensive squad in Major League Soccer are nearing dire straits territory, with six teams to catch in the playoff battle and time running out.
To their credit, despite the significant rotations to the squad and the adversity they have been faced with, Atlanta have fought hard to remain in the hunt for a postseason berth, coming back to draw seven games this year when facing a second-half deficit.
Unfortunately for Gonzalo Pineda, those single points have done little to move them up the table with his men winning only once in their last seven domestic fixtures.
During this campaign, they have arguably been a bigger threat to score outside the penalty area than inside it, with eight of their goals in 2022 coming from six different players beyond the 18-yard box.
Atlanta have conceded multiple goals on 15 separate occasions this year, allowing only four fewer tallies this season than their most all-time of 44 set back in 2018, when they won their only championship to date.
Heading into this match, the Georgians have points in three of their previous four games played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, failing to score on only two occasions this season at home.
Right now, in the US capital, it seems like the hype surrounding the arrival of Wayne Rooney as boss has been all sizzle and no steak.
As the all-time leading goalscorer for England (53 goals) and Man United (253 goals), the Liverpool-born coach knew how to find the back of the net as player, but at the moment, his side look lost in the final third, going goalless in five consecutive fixtures.
Not only are the Black and Red losing a lot (16 games), but how they have lost some of these games has added to their frustration having dropped five encounters in 2022 by three goals or more.
DC have eight games remaining and will need a win or draw in one of those encounters to avoid equalling their all-time record for losses in an MLS regular season, set in 2013 when they dropped 24 matches.
Five of their remaining fixtures will be away from home, where DC have lost five matches in a row by a combined score of 14-0.
As bad as it looks for them right now, there is still a mathematical chance they can make the postseason, though it would be a longshot with the Black and Red 13 points behind the playoff line and seven teams to have to overtake.
Santiago Sosa and Juan Sanchez Purata notched their first and second goals for Atlanta last weekend, respectively, with Caleb Wiley and Edwin Mosquera picking up assists.
Josef Martinez has scored seven goals against DC United in his career, Marcelino Moreno has two, while their leading scorer this year, Ronaldo Cisneros, is without a goal in three straight games.
Matheus Rossetto (ankle) and George Campbell (adductor) are questionable for this encounter, while Emerson Hyndman is out with a quad injury.
Brad Guzan, Miles Robinson and Dylan Castanheira are all out for the year with Achilles injuries and Osvaldo Alonso will not be back after tearing his ACL.
The last two goals scored by DC United came from Chris Durkin and Taxiarchis Fountas, who both tallied in injury time in the debut match for Rooney as manager, when they defeated Orlando City 2-1 at the end of July.
Christian Benteke could see his first action for the Black and Red after the former Crystal Palace striker signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the club in early August,
Nigel Robertha has picked up the most assists on the team with three, while Rafael Romo was under siege last weekend, facing 12 shots in their defeat to the Union.
Robertha and Bill Hamid are questionable for this match with a thigh and hand issue, respectively, while Brendan Hines-Ike and Adrien Perez are out with foot problems and Brad Smith will not play because of a knee injury.
Atlanta United possible starting lineup:
Rios Novo; Gutman; Franco, Purata, Lennon; Sosa, Almada; Dwyer, Ibarra, Araujo; Martinez
DC United possible starting lineup:
Romo; Najar, Birnbaum, Alfaro, Pines; Hopkins, Durkin, Morrison; Fountas, Benteke, Kamara