The surging Portland Timbers are in Los Angeles on Wednesday night hoping to add to their six-game unbeaten streak that has them in the top four of the Western Conference.
The Timbers will face Los Angeles FC, which could use more than just the confidence boost that three points from a win would provide for a team on the outside looking in at the playoff picture.
Portland and LAFC are 4-4-4 against each other in an even overall series. But the Timbers have won the last two meetings, including a 2-1 victory at Portland on Sept. 19.
The Timbers (12-10-4, 40 points) are coming off a 6-1 trouncing of Real Salt Lake on Saturday in a game that saw brothers Yimmi and Diego Chara team up for a goal in a special moment for Diego, an original Timbers player when the club made its MLS debut in 2011.
"It's going to be a hard game because they're fighting for a spot in the playoffs," Diego Chara said.
Diego Chara was asked how the team has changed its fortunes over the past month with its undefeated streak.
"It's a combination of things," he said. "The good momentum is part hard work, trust in what we're doing, and obviously on defense we have gotten a lot better."
LAFC (9-11-6, 33 points) has lost two straight games, including last weekend 2-0 to San Jose. LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said he thought his team played well in the previous two games against the Timbers.
"Finishing off is important," Bradley said. "We've had chances against them and just didn't do well enough."
Defending crosses against Portland will be crucial, as well as continuing to generate scoring chances, which has not been an issue for LAFC. Bradley's team is tied for eighth in MLS with 38 goals, while the club is tied for fifth in shots on target with 136.
LAFC midfielder Eduard Atuesta (ankle) and forward Brian Rodriguez (hamstring) have been missing due to injuries, with both key to the club's offense. Bradley said both are questionable to play Wednesday.
--Field Level Media