Chivas USA and D.C. United meet at The Home Depot Center on Saturday, both sitting just one point outside of the final playoff spot.
Tied with 31 points apiece, D.C. and Chivas both have realistic playoff ambitions, and three points on Saturday would go a long way towards ensuring that those ambitions become a reality.
The Goats missed a golden opportunity to grind out a result at home against Salt Lake, playing with a man advantage for much of the match after defender Nat Borchers was sent off in the 24th minute.
"Really, the only thought is that you can't be up a man for that long and not score a goal," said Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser.
The club has only managed a 4-5-4 record at home this season, and striker Alejandro Moreno believes those missed opportunities creates a bit of urgency down the stretch.
"We've missed opportunities to get points at home early on, in the middle of the year and now in the final stretch," Moreno said. "If we want to make a run and we're serious about making a run, then we need to get points. It's simple math, it doesn't take a genius to figure that one out."
D.C. United is arguably in a better position to make the postseason, as it has three games in hand.
Regardless, midfielder Chris Pontius recognizes the importance of taking three points on Saturday, especially since United are coming off of a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City which snapped a four-game unbeaten streak for the club.
"These three points are huge," Pontius told MLSsoccer.com. "We dropped a couple against Kansas City which I thought was one of the biggest games of the year for us, but we can quickly redeem ourselves if we can get our three points here against Chivas."
Santino Quaranta knows that D.C. will face a tough game in Carson, CA, but he revealed the type of mentality that can help his side claim three points against Chivas.
"Chivas is always a tough game," Quaranta told MLSsoccer.com. "That field's big, and a good place for us to play as a team. You expect them to fight, work hard and play like a team that wants to win the playoffs. If we don't bring that, we won't have a chance against them."