Seattle Sounders FC will attempt to clinch second place in the Western Conference on Sunday when it heads to The Home Depot Center to take on the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The Sounders enter the weekend level with Real Salt Lake on 46 points apiece, though the Claret and Cobalt can go three points clear with a win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday.
Seattle is coming off of a 3-1 defeat of FC Dallas on Sunday, extending the club's unbeaten run to four games. The Sounders have conceded just one goal over that stretch.
Sunday's tilt simply acts a prelude to Seattle's playoff series against Real Salt Lake. The two sides are certain to face one another, though whichever side finishes second will have the advantage of hosting the second leg.
On the other side, there is virtually nothing at stake for Los Angeles, though the Galaxy players won't have you believe that.
"There is a lot to play for," defender Todd Dunivant said. "We're going into the playoffs and obviously want to be playing well. We haven't won in our last three games and you want to have a good feeling going into the playoffs. We've had an incredible last three months and now we need to keep pushing. This game is another step in that direction."
The club's tilt with Seattle should also go a long way toward providing key players with match fitness.
Dunivant, Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Christian Wilhelmsson have missed games in recent weeks, and minutes on Sunday would help them avoid having to jump back into the fold in a one-off game.
"We're all professionals and we want to win every game," Wilhelmsson said. "Every time we go out on the field we want to win. So that is no different.
"A lot of people are coming to the game and they have the expectation that we are going to perform and do our best, so that's what we're going to do and that's what we have to work for."
With the Galaxy destined for the Western Conference play-in game against the Whitecaps on Thursday, finding some momentum is crucial.