San Jose (1-1-0) at Columbus (1-1-0), 5:30 p.m. The Columbus Crew returns home from a two-game West Coast swing to welcome the San Jose Earthquakes to Crew Stadium on Saturday.
Columbus began its campaign with successive road matches, earning a 3-0 victory at Chivas USA before coming up short at Vancouver in a 2-1 defeat.
The Crew saw very little threat from Chivas in the opener, but could have conceded a few more goals against the Whitecaps, something that was not lost on head coach Robert Warzycha.
"I think we made a few mistakes along the road that probably cost us the game," Warzycha said of the Vancouver contest. "Also in the first half I think they had a couple opportunities to score but we were fortunate not to give up the goal. The second half I thought we controlled the game; we made mistakes and then paid for it. It's a tough place to play on the road and we're going home empty-handed."
Columbus will be pleased to return to familiar surroundings for the first time this season, but the club might be doing so without a constant in the lineup.
Midfielder Eddie Gaven has started every home opener for the Crew since 2006, but his streak could be in jeopardy as he faces a race to be fit for Saturday's game while battling an ankle problem.
Forward Jairo Arrieta has been a bright spot for Columbus so far this season, netting a goal and an assist in the first two games to follow up on a strong first season in MLS in which he found the net nine times in 18 matches.
San Jose found itself in familiar territory last weekend as the club entered the final 10 minutes against Red Bull New York down 1-0.
But like they did so many times last season en route to winning the Supporters' Shield, the Earthquakes mustered up some late heroics to win 2-1.
Adam Jahn netted the equalizer in the 83rd minute and Chris Wondolowski scored in stoppage time to earn his side all three points.
"I wasn't sure how we would play with the guys we had out, but overall, I thought we did enough to get something out of the game," said 'Quakes head coach Frank Yallop. "We created a number of good chances and we moved the ball, especially in the first 60 minutes. It was a frustrating night, but there were some positives we can take out of it moving ahead to next week."
Last season San Jose won or tied eight games with a goal in second-half stoppage time, so last weekend's result was nothing new.
San Jose has certainly not resembled the side that dominated the regular season last year, but a big reason for that is the many injuries the club is currently battling.
The attack has suffered without forwards Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart, while Mike Fucito could also miss Saturday's game. Top defender Steven Beitashour has been out as he continues to recover from sports hernia surgery, leaving the team with a big void to fill in the back.