Carson, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Timbers and Los Angeles Galaxy will look to gain separation from one another when the two sides meet at the StubHub Center on Friday.
Portland and Los Angeles enter the contest level in the Western Conference table on 20 points apiece, though the Galaxy have played four fewer games.
Both clubs enter the match on unbeaten runs but have unable to string together multiple wins.
Los Angeles, which has won three games in its five-match unbeaten run, is hoping to reach another gear for the remainder of the season as midfielder Stefan Ishizaki explained following an impressive 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes last time out that the Galaxy have not yet hit their potential.
"I think we have a little bit more than that," he told the Galaxy's official website. "We know what we have to do, work really hard in every game. If we do that and keep our concentration for the whole game and not let in any easy goals we'll be OK.
"I don't think we've seen the best form from all of our players yet. I think there's more to get out of us."
Friday should provide the Galaxy with a stern test as the Timbers have won their last three road games in MLS league play.
Portland will also be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 1-0 home loss to Sporting Kansas City last time out, a result that left head coach Caleb Porter to lament his side���s inefficiency in front of net.
"It's massively disappointing, the result," Porter said after the match. "You can call it cruel. I've seen this result time and time again over the years. Call it cruel, you can say that we shouldn't have lost. But on the other side, it's fair too because we didn't score a goal. We gave up a goal on one of the few chances they had, which weren't many, and they were able to find a goal and we weren't with all the chances we had and all the possession that we had."
The lone goal of the affair came from a throw-in, leaving Porter to focus on set pieces ahead of Friday's tussle with Los Angeles.
"It comes down to man-to-man marking," Porter continued. "We lost the first ball, we didn't attack the ball. We lost the mark on the second ball. It's upsetting and very frustrating to concede that type of goal, when they weren't creating anything from the run of play. It's one of the most frustrating things as a coach because it comes down to man-marking, which is an elementary play where you're marking a player.
'You see a lot of goals on set pieces in this sport. Every team concedes them and every time you concede on a set piece it's frustrating. We work on them, talk about them, it's a big part of the game that is why approximately a third of the goals are scored on set pieces. Again, it's unfortunate. In the end, we still have to find a way to deal with it. Find a way to score a goal, and we didn't."