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When the clubs played twice in a two-week span this summer before Higuain’s emergence, each team clung to a 1-0 triumph at home. Considering the stakes, it would be no surprise if Saturday brought an equally tense affair.

“As players, this is the position you want to be in,” midfielder-forward Chris Pontius said. “This is what we all play for. For us to be in this position, it’s exciting, and I think you can see it in the locker room.”