The struggling Los Angeles Galaxy will go on the road -- where they have been most comfortable this season -- to face Columbus Crew SC on Wednesday without injured Designated Players Giovani dos Santos and Jermaine Jones.
Neither player flew to Ohio but could be available on Sunday when the Galaxy host the San Jose Earthquakes.
Jones sustained a toe injury in LA's last game, a 2-0 loss to New York City FC on Aug. 12 that extended its winless streak to 0-7-1. Dos Santos, who was already sidelined, missed that game with a hamstring injury.
"We didn't feel that [Dos Santos] will be ready for Wednesday. We think he'll be ready for [Sunday]," coach Sigi Schmid told LA Galaxy Insider. "Jermaine still has stitches, and it was located in a place where it was tough to keep the wound closed. The feeling is that he needs another day or two."
To make matters worse, Wednesday will be the first game for the Galaxy since they completed the transfer last week of former captain Jelle Van Damme, a 2016 MLS Best XI defender, to Antwerp F.C. in Belgium's Jupiler Pro League.
Dave Romney and Daniel Steres are expected to partner in the Galaxy back line.
"They'll step up and do the job," Schmid said.
This will be the second straight match the Crew will play against an opponent missing key personnel. Columbus drew 1-1 on Saturday at Orlando City, which was without suspended Kaka.
Columbus is 1-1-2 in its past four games but starts a three-game homestand at Mapfre Stadium, where it is 8-3-1.
The Crew, fifth in the Eastern Conference, hold a postseason spot while the Galaxy sit ninth in the Western Conference, 11 points below the playoff line.
"In MLS there are really no easy teams," Crew defender Lalas Abubakar said. "We're playing at home so it's really important we make our minds right."
Columbus will be without suspended defender Harrison Afful. Designated Player midfielder Federico Higuain (right knee sprain), who has not played since July 1, is questionable.
Designated Player Pedro Santos, who made his Crew debut at Orlando, could make his first home appearance.
LA's five road wins (5-5-1) are tied with NYC and Chicago, the top two teams in the overall standings, for the most in MLS.