The MLS' Western Conference playoff race is getting tight.
Only five points separate second place from eighth, with the top seven teams making the postseason.
Two of those teams will meet Saturday night, when the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy play in Carson, Calif.
The Galaxy (13-11-1, 40 points) moved from fifth into third place with a 2-0 victory against visiting FC Dallas on Wednesday as Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice. The Sounders (11-8-6, 39 points) dropped from second to fifth with a 3-0 loss that same night at Real Salt Lake.
"I think it's sort of back-to-back super-important games," Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget said after the Galaxy snapped a three-game losing streak. "This is crunch time, and we definitely need to get in a position where we don't have to worry" about qualifying for the playoffs.
The Galaxy have a big week ahead. Following the Sounders match, they'll travel to Cruz Azul on Tuesday for a Leagues Cup semifinal, and then meet rival Los Angeles FC next weekend.
"Every game is big," Ibrahimovic said. "Because everybody is needing points to feel more safe, to be in this first seven spots (to qualify for the postseason). Every game will be important."
The Sounders, who have been to the MLS Cup in two of the past three seasons, will be looking to snap a three-match winless streak (0-2-1) Saturday.
"Smaller teams, teams that haven't gone through the seasons that we've gone through over the last couple years, can easily fold," Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan said. "They can easily say, 'You know what? We might not even make the playoffs.' But the reality is, we're going for it. We know that it's a tough stretch and it's going to be a tough rest of the season, so we just have to embrace the challenge."
This will be the first meeting between the teams this season. The Galaxy hold a 10-7-9 edge in the all-time series, including 6-3-4 at home.
--Field Level Media
Sounders, Galaxy try to secure postseason future