NY Red Bulls and Cincinnati find themselves four points and eight points adrift of CF Montreal respectively, with this upcoming clash representing both teams' game in hand.
NY Red Bulls have not failed to qualify for the playoffs since 2009, so former Barnsley boss Gerhard Struber is under immense pressure to avoid falling short of that mark this campaign.
Metro have endured a difficult start to the campaign, losing seven of their 15 league games, but a win against Cincinnati would put them right back into the mix in terms of the playoff picture.
However, with only one win in their last seven matches, they will not head into the clash with much confidence, especially after Saturday's agonising defeat to New England Revolution.
Struber must utilise all of his managerial experience and credentials to lift his side's spirit from off the floor ahead of a winnable fixture on Wednesday, otherwise the club could be facing their worst season in several years.
Cincinnati, of course, are a much newer club than their forthcoming opponents, having only joined the MLS as a franchise team in 2019.
Understandably, Orange and Blue have struggled to keep pace with their rivals since joining the division, finishing 12th in their debut season before regressing to 14th last season.
Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam is gradually improving results and performances on the pitch, but given that they are averaging fewer than one point per game so far this season, a push to reach the playoffs for the first time still feels an unlikely target.
Following a winless run of seven matches, an upset against NY Red Bulls on Wednesday feels like what is needed if they are to have any chance of resurrecting their hopes in that sense.
Right-back Kyle Duncan will need to be on his best behaviour considering that one more yellow card will see him incur a suspension.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, have a long-term absentee of their own in the shape of Maikel van der Werff, who tore his groin in April.
Like Duncan on the opposing team, holding midfielder Caleb Stanko is walking a tightrope after accumulating four yellow cards in 10 appearances so far this season.
New York Red Bulls possible starting lineup:
Carlos; Duncan, Edwards, Tarek, Tolkin; Casseres, Davis, Clark; Carmona; Klimala, Fabio
FC Cincinnati possible starting lineup:
Vermeer; Hagglund, Cameron, Vallecilla, Matarrita; Cruz, Kubo; Barreal, Acosta, Gyau; Brenner
We say: New York Red Bulls 2-1 FC Cincinnati
We expect NY Red Bulls to have too much quality for Cincinnati on Wednesday, although the visitors have enough about them to keep things tight.
Although Stam's side do not win many matches, four of their last six games have ended as draws, so it would not be too surprising if Struber's side are on the right end of a late winner this time around.
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