The home side lead the Eastern Conference and overall table despite their recent wobble, while the Crown could do with victories with the regular season winding down to qualify for the post-season playoffs.
Cincinnati are assured a playoff spot, which has understandably brought about a dip in performances and results, with Wednesday night's draw at Montreal extending the Garys' winless run to three games.
Admittedly, only one loss has been recorded in that time — a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Orlando City — and Pat Noonan's troops seek a return to winning ways on home turf.
It remains to be seen if the Ohio-based club are motivated for this weekend's encounter, which has no immediate consequences for their position at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Noonan's team hold a nine-point advantage over Orlando, and both sides have 15 points left to play for in the regular season.
Only a complete collapse in results and the second-placed side — or any of the chasing pack that includes three teams with two points fewer than Orlando's 50 points — could knock Cincinnati off the top spot, an outcome that seems unrealistic, even if there is still a mathematical possibility.
As for Charlotte, the season is far from finished for the side that aim to end in one of the two Wild Card spots in the Eastern Conference.
Christian Lattanzio's men are 10 points adrift of an automatic playoff spot but could still end as one of the sides placed eighth or ninth at the end of the regular season.
The Crown are four points shy of Montreal and three adrift of DC United, giving them a realistic chance of playing the single-game elimination match.
However, Charlotte must secure much-needed wins in the campaign's concluding weeks to give themselves a fighting chance.
Lattanzio's side have lost as many games as third-placed Columbus (nine), but 12 draws (the second-highest in the Eastern Conference) threaten to undermine their prospects, with four consecutive MLS games ending without a winner.
Charlotte have more games to play than every side above them in the standings, further exciting fans of the North Carolina club, who hope to make this season's post-season playoff after missing out in the club's inaugural campaign last year.
Stiven Jimenez is sidelined for the remainder of this year's MLS campaign due to a broken leg.
Lattanzio could change his Charlotte lineup if Benjamin Bender does not recover from the injury that forced him off against Philadelphia — meaning Kamil Jozwiak could start on the right wing against Cincinnati.
Vinicius Mello's leg injury could keep him out of action until October, ruling out the forward for this weekend's game.
FC Cincinnati possible starting lineup:
Celentano; Hagglund, Miazga, Murphy; Arias, Nwobodo, Moreno, Barreal; Acosta; Vazquez, Santos
Charlotte FC possible starting lineup:
Kahlina; Byrne, Malanda, Privett, Uronen; Bronico, Westwood; Jozwiak, Swiderski, Meram; Copetti
We say: FC Cincinnati 2-1 Charlotte FC
Despite a significant dip in results, Cincinnati's home form stayed consistent before losing 1-0 to Orlando before the start of the month.
Be that as it may, the hosts are favourites to prove their first home loss of the season was an anomaly against a Charlotte side without an away victory in four months.
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