Bob Bradley has repeated his stance that Los Angeles FC will always support international call-ups, even if he is disappointed to be without a number of key men for the trip to Colorado Rapids.
LAFC have four players away on national team duty for a longer stretch than usual due to travel and quarantine complications amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It is particularly painful for last season's Supporters' Shield winners as Diego Rossi - not initially selected by Uruguay - is now among those departing.
Bradley believes LAFC cannot afford to oppose such opportunities for their star players, yet he is again frustrated MLS will continue to play through what is a break for other club competitions around the world.
"My first thought is I don't know why the league is playing during this international break," he said. "Around the world, clubs have to find a way to support national team situations.
"As a club, we've always tried to push them to further in their careers. I believe that's one of the reasons why guys will want to play for this club."
LAFC will try to stick to their usual ambitious approach without Rossi and Co, though.
"We have great players," Bradley added. "These next few weeks are going to be a great opportunity for additional players to step up.
"I don't think we can become a top team if we change those ideas (when players are missing). There can be some minor adjustments."
LAFC's preparation has still been significantly more straightforward than Colorado's, with the Rapids returning to action after previous matches were called off due to positive COVID-19 tests.
Asked of the opportunity to lead full team training, Robin Fraser replied: "Not very much at all. Opportunities to touch a soccer ball have been severely dampened."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Colorado Rapids – Cole Bassett
The Rapids will hope the COVID-enforced pause does not disrupt Bassett's flow. After almost a year without a goal, he netted four in seven - including goals in each of the two matches before the team were shut down. He also had three assists across the seven games.
Los Angeles FC – Danny Musovski
LAFC are short in attack with top scorer Rossi away, meaning fringe man Musovski could now be thrust front and centre. He has twice scored from the bench in big wins, but starting matches - he has been in the XI just once - is a different matter entirely.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- LAFC have won three of their four matches against the Rapids in MLS (L1). They have scored eight goals in the three wins but were shut out in a 1-0 defeat in Colorado in June 2019.
- The Rapids recorded a 5-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes last time out, matching their club-record margin of victory they set against Real Salt Lake on September 12. Colorado have won two of their past four matches by five-goal margins after not winning any of their first 812 MLS matches (regular season and playoffs) by more than four goals.
- LAFC collected their first away points of the season in a 3-1 win at Real Salt Lake on Sunday. They had lost their first four away matches by a combined score of 12-1. They had failed to win any of their previous seven away matches going back to last season (D3 L4).
- No team has had more goal help from substitutes this season than the Rapids, who have an MLS-high seven goals scored by subs - along with five assisted, second only to Atlanta United (seven). Jonathan Lewis is one of two players (also Philadelphia Union's Anthony Fontana) with a league-high three goals off the bench this season.
- Bradley Wright-Phillips had a goal and an assist in LAFC's win over RSL on Sunday, the third time in five games he was directly involved in two goals. Wright-Phillips has been directly involved in seven goals over the past five matches (four goals, three assists).