The New York Red Bulls and San Jose Earthquakes have strikingly similar records at this point in MLS 2017. Both teams have 26 points, both teams have negative goal differences, both teams have won as many games as they have lost in the league to date. And both look set for a battle to make the post-season in their respective Conferences.
But these are also teams that might reasonably think of themselves as on the verge of a turnaround. Neither has been entirely bad so far this season, neither has been particularly consistent, but each has just qualified for the US Open Cup semifinals, and they can both hope that their Cup runs spark a charge up the league standings.
The first effort to make that charge starts with this game.