The Vancouver Whitecaps will aim to beat another playoff-caliber opponent during their own push for the postseason when they visit the Portland Timbers on Wednesday evening.
The Whitecaps are coming off an impressive 2-1 victory over second-place Sporting Kansas City on Sunday night, a result that helped Vancouver (10-9-10, 40 points) keep pace in the Western Conference race.
Interim manager Vanni Sartini's team remains one point out of the playoffs, sitting in eighth place in the West, despite going 5-2-2 under his guidance.
More performances like Sunday, in which Vancouver took a 2-0 lead through goals from Ryan Gauld and Russell Teibert and limited SKC to three shots on goal, might be enough to return the 'Caps to their first postseason since 2017.
"I think the team has been creating chances, (and) I think a lot of that stems from the work rate of the team," Teibert said after scoring his first goal of the season. "I think we have unselfish players throughout the entire team. I think we've shown throughout the season that goals will come from anywhere."
Fourth-place Portland (14-11-4, 46 points) is relatively safe, six points above the Whitecaps and five above the West playoff line with five matches to play.
Additionally, the Timbers have won three in a row at home, while the Whitecaps have earned one away victory all season.
But, after an impressive eight-match unbeaten run, the Timbers need to avoid letting a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy on Saturday turn into a larger trend.
Sebastian Blanco scored his fourth goal of the season to tie the game in the 72nd minute.
That was after Portland gave up a relatively fluky opening goal to Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, and before it lost on Sacha Kljestan's penalty in second-half stoppage time.
"We come here, we have great momentum. But I think the first half, we no play the way that we played in the last games," Blanco said afterward. "We played the counterattack many times. It's difficult to score that way."
--Field Level Media