The Los Angeles Galaxy know better than most what a four-game winning streak can do for a Major League Soccer team.
The Galaxy won four in a row coming out of the MLS is Back Tournament this summer to put themselves in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.
Since then, they have gone 1-7-1 to drop into the cellar. With four games remaining in the regular season, starting Wednesday night at Portland, they likely will need to match their previous run to make the postseason.
"The thing to remember in MLS is a three- to four-game winning streak will probably get you in the playoffs, so we know that we still have it in our hands," Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan said. "I think if we go out and win the rest of our games that we can make the playoffs."
It won't be easy, with games ahead against West power Portland (9-5-5, 32 points) as well as Seattle, who have represented the conference in the past five MLS Cup finals.
The Galaxy (5-10-3, 18 points) are four places and six points from the eighth and final playoff berth. Forward Javier "Chicarito" Hernandez, the team's biggest offseason acquisition, who has been injury plagued all season, is questionable with a hamstring issue.
And LA is coming off a 2-0 loss to rival Los Angeles FC on Sunday in which they were outshot 27-5 and didn't put an attempt on goal until second-half stoppage time. The Galaxy played short-handed after the 22nd minute, when center back Giancarlo Gonzalez received a red card.
"I think the rest of the guys tried to keep fighting (after the red card)," Kljestan said. "Either way you're down 1-0 and you're down a man, it's really difficult to come back but we stayed in the game until the 90th minute. ... We gave ourselves a chance, but weren't able to capitalize."
The Timbers had the weekend off after a 1-1 tie at Seattle last Thursday. They conceded the tying goal in second-half stoppage time for the second consecutive game.
"We are here in Seattle, playing against our rivals, playing against a very good team and we tied in this match and we're very disappointed because we felt that we could have gotten more," Timbers coach Gio Savarese said. "Right there, that's a good sign."
--Field Level Media