Sunday provides an opportunity for FC Dallas and Chivas USA to end disappointing seasons on a positive note.
But either way, the result may do little to numb Dallas' letdown of a year or prevent change within Chivas that appears imminent.
Dallas (9-13-11) sits in sixth place in the Western Conference and four points out of a playoff spot. Its most recent game was last Sunday's 3-1 loss at Seattle and ensured the club will not be participating in the postseason for the first time since 2009.
Coach Schellas Hyndman, though, isn't planning on simply using this contest as an audition for his less-experienced players.
"I think when you look at the way the season has gone this year, we got a lot of younger guys on the field," he told the league's official website. "So what are we doing, putting younger guys on again? In many ways, we got a look at a lot of younger guys throughout the year because of circumstances and I think what we need to do is focus on finishing the season with a win."
For a team that will barely miss the playoffs, Dallas could not put away last-place Chivas (7-18-8) in two previous meetings this season. Both ended in draws, most recently 1-1 in Carson, Calif., on Oct. 7.
Chivas is 0-4-2 in this series, getting held to three goals, since winning both meetings in 2009.
Victories anywhere have been few and far between this season, as Chivas' 29 points are second-fewest in MLS. The club is winless in a franchise-record 13 consecutive matches (0-10-3) since a victory July 28 at Portland.
The league's worst offense has been especially bad of late, with Chivas tallying just two goals in nine games. The club has gone 352-plus minutes without scoring on the road, where it has lost five straight.
Sunday could mark the final time Robin Fraser serves as the team's coach. Multiple reports this week said that Fraser will be relieved of his duties, with former Mexican national team interim coach Efraín Flores taking over.
"I have no idea," Fraser said. "Certainly, it's not up to me. As long as I'm here, I'm trying to make the team as good as possible and win as many games as possible. Now we're down to one game and we're doing everything we can to win that game. Beyond that, I don't know."