Two Western Conference rivals going in opposite directions will meet when the Vancouver Whitecaps visit Los Angeles FC on Wednesday.
Vancouver and Los Angeles are even on points this season, with a tiebreaker putting the Whitecaps (5-7-0, 15 points) ahead in the standings.
The Whitecaps also have the big edge in current form, riding a two-game win streak and a 3-1-0 record over their last four games. Their most recent victory saw Lucas Cavallini score in the 84th minute to clinch a 2-1 result over host Real Salt Lake last Saturday.
Vancouver has scored 10 goals over its last four games, an offensive surge made all the more impressive considering it follows three straight shutout losses from August 18-25.
"Only a group with a strong mentality can react like" Vancouver coach Marc Dos Santos said of his team's response to the goalless week.
"At the end it's three wins out of four and we have to understand that what's coming next is still hard, it's still a challenge," he added. "We have to be strong and keep going."
Los Angeles FC (4-5-3, 15 points) hope a similar turnaround is coming for what has become a very inconsistent attack. LAFC are 2-5-0 over their last seven games, with nine goals scored in the two victories and only one goal scored in the five defeats.
"We do create opportunities but they're half-chances sometimes," midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye said after LAFC's last game, a 3-0 loss to the host Seattle Sounders on Friday. "And then when we do create real opportunities, we don't put them away, and that's the difference right now with teams we're playing."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Los Angeles FC's scoring slump has coincided with star midfielder Eduard Atuesta's recovery from a foot injury. After missing five games, Atuesta has appeared as a substitute in LAFC's last two games, including 45 minutes against Seattle. It isn't yet known if Atuesta will continue to be brought along slowly, or if he could play something closer to a starter's workload against Vancouver.
Los Angeles FC is 4-1-3 in home games this season, as opposed to an 0-4-0 record on the road.
--Field Level Media