D.C. United will look for their first back-to-back league wins since April on Saturday night when they host the sliding San Jose Earthquakes in a game crucial to both teams' playoff hopes.
D.C. (9-12-6, 33 points) enters the weekend one point above Chicago and in possession of the ninth and last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after a dominant 4-0 victory over the Fire last Saturday.
Christian Benteke scored his team-leading ninth and 10th goals to snap a scoring drought that extended back to early June, while Ted Ku-DiPietro added his fifth.
Goalkeeper Alex Bono kept D.C.'s eighth clean sheet — and only his second — in his first start since manager Wayne Rooney revealed that fellow goalkeeper Tyler Miller would be out 4-6 weeks with a rib issue.
"The last bit of the season is going to be a big push for us," said Bono, who was only called upon for two saves in the victory. "And we can take that game, the defensive performance, the amount of goals that we scored, we can take that and it can be confidence for us going down the stretch."
However, the Black and Red have lost three of their last four following a win, with their last consecutive victories coming when they won three straight in MLS play from April 15-29. They have yet to win consecutive home league games.
San Jose (9-9-9, 36 points) heads East holding onto eighth place in the Western Conference with a three-point cushion for playoff safety.
But the Quakes have earned only one point in their last three matches, in a 1-1 draw at home against Minnesota United last weekend.
And they've scored multiple goals only once during their road stops all season, earning both their away wins by a 1-0 score.
"Obviously, how we play depends on the moments of the game," said Cristian Espinoza, who leads San Jose with 12 goals. "Sometimes you have to drop the lines a little bit and wait. The team is ready to win, and that is what we are going to do. We will try to have a good game and try to take the three points."
Last weekend's goal-scorer for San Jose, Cade Cowell, as well as defensive midfielder Carlos Gruezo, are away on international duty, as is fullback Andy Najar for D.C.
—Field Level Media