D.C. United (8-5-4) at San Jose (4-7-4), 11 p.m.
Santa Clara, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Earthquakes will be looking to snap a three-game slide when the club welcomes D.C. United to Buck Shaw Stadium on Friday.
The 'Quakes have slipped to the bottom of the Western Conference after suffering three straight 1-0 losses to Toronto FC, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA.
Not only will San Jose hope to halt its poor run of form, but the club will also be going for its first defeat of D.C. United in regular season play since 2012.
But DCU will have other ideas.
United is clinging to top spot in the East, entering Friday's clash with a two-point lead over second-place Sporting Kansas City.
A road victory on Friday would see United go five points clear at the top while giving the club a third win in four outings.
D.C. cruised to a 4-2 defeat of the Montreal Impact prior to the World Cup break only to return to action with a 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC on June 28.
But the club got back to winning ways on Saturday as Ben Olsen's men edged Toronto in a 2-1 victory at BMO Field, an odd outcome given that the United boss felt that his side had played better against Seattle.
"Yeah we played much better against Seattle, ironically. Sometimes that is how it goes," Olsen said after the match. "I thought their game plan was good in the first half, we had some heavy legs and I thought they wanted to defend and counter which worked very well for them. We were poor with the ball and played right into it, second half we changed our mentality a bit and made it into a little bit more of a fight and changed the game that way. Then we held on down the stretch, they're a good team with some real impact players up top. (Luke) Moore and (Jermain) Defoe between the two of them are a real handful, I thought our guys did well.
"It wasn't our best night but this team has real mettle, real character, and that sees us through games."
United will need that mettle and character against a desperate San Jose side, but Perry Kitchen's professional approach should put the club in good stead.
"The way he goes about his business everyday - that's what I have the most respect for with Perry," midfielder Davy Arnaud told DCU's official website. "He's obviously strong, he reads the game well and he is good with his feet; all the things you have to have to be a good central midfielder. The thing I admire the most is the way he comes out everyday; he gives everything every single day. It's impressive."