Sydney FC coach Steve Corica is in no doubt how vital finishing in the A-League's top two is to his team's hopes of an unprecedented championship three-peat.
The Sky Blues face fourth-placed Adelaide at Coopers Stadium on Saturday two points clear of third-placed Central Coast with just two regular-season games to play.
With only one team successfully winning the championship from outside the top two positions in A-League history (Melbourne Victory, 2018), Corica knows a win over the Reds comes with potentially massive benefits.
"Second place is very important. If you can't finish top you want to be second," Corica said.
"It gives you that extra rest leading into the final week. It's important.
"It's a big game. Adelaide is always a difficult place to go ... they're playing really good football as well at the moment.
"We're looking forward to the challenge."
Saturday's game will be the final one of the season for Rhyan Grant, Andrew Redmayne and Ryan McGowan after the Sydney trio were called up by Socceroos coach Graham Arnold for next month's World Cup qualifiers.
"You want your best players but obviously it's not to be and we have to readjust our team a little bit," said Corica.
"Three obviously key players for us but you know we've got boys that can come in and do a good job as well so that's the key going into the finals."
Adelaide, desperately trying to hang on to a top four finish with in-form Brisbane closing in, have no such selection dramas with winger Craig Goodwin overlooked by Arnold.
The Reds have promoted four players into their squad including young gun Al Hassan Toure with Juande and Kusini Yengi both sidelined with hamstring injuries.
Sydney will be without German midfielder Alexander Baumjohann (hamstring) while defender Patrick Flottmann returns after re-signing with Corica's team following a short spell at the Roar.
KEY MATCH STATS
* Adelaide haven't lost in eight matches at Coopers Stadium, winning five of those games and keeping a clean sheet in their past three home matches.
* Sydney are aiming to go four A-League matches without conceding for the first time since April 2017.
* Adelaide winger Craig Goodwin's 13 passes into the box per game this season is the highest of any player in the league.