The two teams on opposite ends of the final MLS regular-season standings last season meet up Saturday in an early-season clash to see whether the gap between the two has narrowed.
So far, things are looking pretty familiar.
The San Jose Earthquakes, still in search of their first point, travel across the country to face the New York Red Bulls.
New York (0-0-1, 1 point) opened the MLS season with a 1-1 draw with Columbus, then played a home and home in the CONCACAF Champions League against Santos Laguna of Mexico the last two Tuesdays. NYRB was eliminated, dropping both games.
Now it's back to MLS play where the team will look to get back to the winning ways that saw it win the Supporters' Shield for best record in MLS last season, going 22-7-5 (71 points).
"It will be great to get home and really start the league," New York coach Chris Armas said this week. "The guys have put a lot into the preseason, showing up early. It will be great to get in front our family and friends and kick things off."
It looks like they have the perfect opponent to get back on track. San Jose (0-2-0, 0 points) had the worst record in MLS last season, winning just four times in 34 matches. Their 21 points (4-21-9) were the fewest in the league by seven points, and 10 points behind Colorado, the closest team to the Earthquakes in the Western Conference.
And things haven't started well this year, either.
With new coach Matias Almeyda taking over in San Jose, there was optimism heading into the season. But a 2-1 loss to Montreal, followed by a 3-0 thumping at the hands of Minnesota United, has quickly squelched a lot of the good feeling.
What's more, both of those matches were at home. Now, San Jose has to play the best team on its schedule thus far after making one of the longest road trips in MLS.
Nonetheless, Almeyda remains optimistic.
"This team has been through a lot because of last year, only winning a few games," Almeyda said. "The mental health in soccer, and in life, is fundamental and we are giving them all the tools to be relaxed, that they don't get desperate. Have patience. The positive results will come soon, and we hope they come as soon as possible."
--Field Level Media