Los Angeles FC coach Bob Bradley calls them six-point games.
And his team will face another Sunday night in Portland.
The Timbers (10-10-4, 34 points) and LAFC (9-9-6, 33 points) entered the weekend in fifth and seventh place, respectively, in Major League Soccer's Western Conference. The top seven teams make the playoffs.
"When people talk about six-point games of course they mean games against teams in your conference where you're close in the standings, and it's not only the three points that you fight for but it's also making sure the other team doesn't take three points," Bradley said.
Both teams are peaking at the right time, entering the match on four-game unbeaten streaks (3-0-1).
Los Angeles' surge has coincided with the arrival of Cristian Arango, who has scored in all four matches. His penalty kick opened the scoring in a 2-1 victory Wednesday at Austin FC.
LAFC were in need of a scoring boost as they have been without the past two Golden Boot winners -- Carlos Vela because of injury and Diego Rossi having been lent to Fenerbahce in Turkey.
"He's a guy you can count on," Bradley said of Arango. "He plays for the team, but he puts himself in positions in the box. He's a threat at all times and he now shows he can play a real important role for us."
The Timbers had a three-game winning streak snapped in a 2-2 draw Wednesday against visiting Colorado, but it almost felt like a win.
Portland played a man down after Bill Tuiloma received his second yellow card in the 42nd minute, and Sebastian Blanco scored the equalizer in second-half stoppage time.
"Going down a man, basically for 45 minutes, required a lot of work and a lot of determination from the players," Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said. "I asked them in the locker room to come in the second half and be very disciplined, but with the ball, be brave and move forward, find good spaces. And they did a great job to stay disciplined and to use the moments when we had the ball to be smart in the decisions that we made."
The Timbers won the first meeting between the teams 2-1 on July 21 at Providence Park as Felipe Mora scored the winner in second-half stoppage time.
--Field Level Media