The San Jose Earthquakes' woeful season has claimed a victim.
Steve Ralston will be the Quakes' interim manager when they host Atlanta United on Wednesday at Avaya Stadium in San Jose after the team on Monday parted company with head coach Mikael Stahre, who was in his first year at the helm.
Stahre's last-place team was 4-16-8 with an MLS-worst 20 points. Assistant coach Alex de Crook was also let go.
"I would like to thank Mikael and Alex for their hard work and professionalism this season," San Jose general manager Jesse Fioranelli said in a statement. "Mikael has qualities, both as a person and a coach, that will be missed by players, staff and the front office alike.
"We felt we needed a change and decided that the six remaining games represent an opportunity for all of us to begin heading in a new direction and to evaluate our options actively with a single goal in mind: to strengthen our first team for the upcoming season and beyond."
Ralston, an assistant with the Quakes since 2015, takes over for the team's final six games.
He will face off on Wednesday against two former New England Revolution teammates, Atlanta's Michael Parkhurst and Jeff Larentowicz.
"I'm happy for him," Parkhurst told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. "It's been a long time coming. It's unfortunate that it's come under these circumstances and unfortunately, he has to play us in his first game. But I hope he does well and hope he gets the job full time."
San Jose, which has won just twice at Avaya Stadium this season, is coming off a 5-1 home loss to Sporting Kansas City, that propelled SKC to the top of the Western Conference standings. The five goals were the most the Earthquakes had conceded in a home game in more than four years.
At the other end of the MLS spectrum sits Atlanta United (17-5-6), first place by one point over the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta, at the end of a four-game road trip, is 3-1 in its past four games. United returns to Atlanta on Saturday to face Real Salt Lake in its first home match in a month.
Atlanta has a league-best 9-3-2 road record after shutting out the Galaxy 3-0 in Colorado on Saturday.
Midfielder Darlington Nagbe made his first start in three months. The 27-year-old suffered a right adductor injury during a June 24 match with Portland.
"He played very, very well. He played more than we had planned," United manager Tata Martino said, according to the league website. "We planned about 60 to 65 minutes for him, but he made it all the way to around the 70th minute. I wanted to wait until the hydration break to make the change, so that I could have longer to talk tactics with Kevin (Kratz) who was about to come on."
This is the second all-time meeting between the clubs. Atlanta beat San Jose 4-2 last season.