Although FC Dallas has struggled to overcome an onslaught of injuries, the club hopes to avoid a franchise-worst losing streak as it takes on a Chivas USA team that hasn't beaten it at home in five years.
Short-handed Dallas goes for its first victory in almost a month Saturday night while re-tooled Chivas looks to win consecutive matches for the first time since March 2013.
Dallas suffered another blow to its midfield this week when it found out Hendry Thomas will miss at least six weeks due to a muscle tear. The team is already without Mauro Diaz, who is not expected to return until late June following knee surgery.
Kellyn Acosta, George John and Andres Escobar are also out for an extended period due to injury, though midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson is eligible to return after serving a two-game suspension for violent conduct versus New York on May 4.
As a result, Dallas (5-5-1) fielded five players 22 or younger last Saturday as it dropped its fourth straight with a 2-1 loss at San Jose. The club hasn't lost five in a row in the 19-year history of the franchise.
"It's a long season, so overall it's such a small part of the season you can't get all bummed out over such a little part of the season," 22-year-old forward Tesho Akindele told the team's official website.
Dallas ranks third in the league with 20 goals, but has struggled to generate offense during its slide. It has totaled three goals in its last four matches after scoring at least twice six times during a 5-1-1 start.
Michel provided the only tally last Saturday with a 20-yard free-kick goal in the 76th minute. The Brazilian leads all MLS defenders with a team-high five goals.
Michel, Watson and Fabian Castillo scored to lead Dallas to a 3-1 home win over Chivas (2-5-3) in the first meeting March 22. Dallas is 6-1-4 in the last 11 matchups overall and 3-0-3 since its last loss at Toyota Stadium in 2009.
"The first match down there we were trying to figure things out and I think we found ourselves a little bit and we have more confidence coming into this game," Chivas right back Eric Avila said. "They're in a bit of a struggling point but we're trying not to really focus on what they're trying to do."
Chivas will have a much different look than the first contest after it acquired Martin Rivero from Colorado in early April and added former Dallas midfielder Marvin Chavez from the Rapids and Ryan Finley from Columbus on May 8.
Chavez made an immediate impact in Colorado on Sunday, scoring twice in a 3-1 victory as Chivas snapped an eight-game winless streak and a 19-game road drought. The Goats haven't won two in a row overall since March 24 and 30 of last season.
Erick Torres, who is tied for second in MLS with eight goals, scored in the 56th minute against the Rapids and had the only goals for Chivas in the first meeting with Dallas.
Chivas' Tommy McNamara, Tony Lochhead, Lyle Martin and Andrew Jean-Baptiste are out with long-term injuries, while Bobby Burling and Matthew Dunn are questionable.