Minnesota United currently sit seventh in the Western Conference, only one point above the chasing pack which is led by Vancouver Whitecaps in eighth, making Sunday's encounter with bottom-placed Austin FC a must-win match for the visitors.
Adrian Heath's side have allowed teams to catch up with them in the last few weeks, recording just one point on the board in their last three games, while Austin have picked up six points in that same time.
Austin handed Minnesota a favour during their last outing by beating a playoff rival 2-1, when Real Salt Lake travelled to the Q2 Stadium in Texas.
A brace from Cecilio Dominguez was enough to see off Salt Lake, and Austin were deserved winners in that tie having created 18 chances on goal, which does not come as a surprise considering Josh Wolff's side have tended to create many chances in their matches throughout the season.
Despite being quite creative in the attacking third, Austin have only averaged one goal per game this campaign, which is among the lowest out of all the MLS teams, and they are the lowest scorers in the Western Conference.
Having won two of their last three games, Austin are in the best form that they have been in since the end of June, and with a game in hand on 12th-placed Houston Dynamo, Wolff's side have given themselves a good opportunity to not end the season as the bottom-placed team.
Minnesota are in danger of dropping out of the top seven towards the end of this season, and for sure they will need to turn their form around if they are to qualify for the playoffs.
Adrien Hunou gave Minnesota an early lead last time out, but Colorado Rapids managed to turn the game around, despite being down to 10 players for the final 30 minutes, and the Loons ended up as 3-1 losers last weekend.
Perhaps an even more disappointing result was the goalless draw Heath's side had to settle for against Dallas at the beginning of October, and they can not afford to drop any more points to teams below them in the table.
Towards the end of October, Minnesota play against Los Angeles FC and Vancouver, who are currently both within touching distance of catching the Loons, so Heath will want his side to remain above those teams by winning their next two games prior to those fixtures.
Sunday's encounter will be the third time Minnesota have faced Austin this season, and each team have a win a piece from their previous two matches, with Minnesota winning the most recent outing 2-0 in June.
Goalkeeper Brad Stuver returned to Austin's starting lineup last time out, after Andrew Tarbell made his first appearance of the season against Colorado, and Stuver will remain between the posts for the home team.
Despite scoring in their last outing, Hunou is expected to be replaced by Lod, who will lead the line for the visitors, with Osvaldo Alonso also a certain starter in midfield.
Austin FC possible starting lineup:
Stuver; Jimenez, Romana, Cascante, Kolmanic; Ring, Pochettino; Dominguez, Driussi, Fagundez; Djitte
Minnesota United possible starting lineup:
Miller; Gasper, Dibassy, Boxall, Metanire; Alonso, Trapp; Fragapane, Reynoso, Finlay; Lod
We say: Austin FC 1-1 Minnesota United
Austin will have taken confidence from their last game and another home fixture gives them a good opportunity to record back-to-back wins for the first time since the beginning of the season.
However, Minnesota will be desperate to get back to winning ways and the conflicting scenarios in each squad currently sets up an interesting encounter which neither side may be able to win.