FC Dallas has been the best team in MLS for the majority of the 2016 season but faces a near-must-win match on Sunday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, when it hosts a Seattle Sounders FC team that's fighting for its playoff life.
The Supporters' Shield is still within reach for FC Dallas but they can't afford any misstep at home in the penultimate match of the regular season.
Colorado sprinted past Dallas in midweek with a 2-1 win over San Jose and leads Dallas by a point with two matches to play.
Still only one scenario would see the Shield awarded this weekend: If Dallas (16-8-8, 57 points) loses or draws Sunday against Seattle and Colorado wins Sunday in Portland, the Rapids would win it.
Every other scenario has the race for home-field throughout the playoffs coming down to the final day of the season.
FC Dallas will have its hands full against Seattle (13-13-6, 45 points), which even after Wednesday's disappointing scoreless draw at home versus Houston, remains hottest team in the league since the end of July. The Sounders FC had won their previous four games.
"We know Dallas will be prepared and will play hard and we will be ready for that," Sounders FC interim coach Brian Schmetzer said Friday after the team went through workouts in the pouring rain.
Sounders FC would clinch a playoff berth with a win at Dallas or via a Portland tie or loss to Colorado. Seattle could and potentially move into third in the Western Conference with a victory.
Seattle will be without Ozzie Alonso because of a red card suspension assessed Wednesday. Andreas Ivanschitz will also miss the FC Dallas match, and the team's regular-season finale against Real Salt Lake on Oct. 23, as well, after sustaining a sprained right knee on against Houston Wednesday.
The home side has taken the previous two meetings this season, a 2-0 Dallas win on May 14 and a 5-0 Sounders win on July 13.