The Los Angeles Galaxy look to extend their unbeaten run to four matches on Sunday when they play host to St. Louis City, who might be getting healthy at the right time.
The Galaxy (7-10-8, 29 points) have taken seven points from their last three matches and 13 from their last six as they attempt to engineer a late charge into the playoff scene after an awful start to the season.
They remain second from bottom in the Western Conference after last weekend's 0-0 home draw with the Houston Dynamo, but with only a five-point gap from the playoff line.
LA is one of only four teams to collect a point on the road against West-leading St. Louis, earning a 1-1 draw in the first-ever meeting between the clubs June 11.
"We want the game to look like our version of the game as much as possible," Galaxy manager Greg Vanney said of facing St Louis' high press. "We have to be responsible with the ball. We have to not turn over the ball in areas where we can get hurt."
The Galaxy roster remains depleted, however. Fullback Lucas Calegari (knee) will miss Sunday's contest, while the long-term injuries to Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and defensive midfielder Gaston Brugman still loom.
Midfielder Riqui Puig has inherited the starring attacking role in Chicharito's absence with five goals and seven assists.
St. Louis manager Bradley Carnell could see striker Joao Klauss, midfielders Eduard Lowen and Rasmus Alm, and goalkeeper Roman Burki all in the starting XI for one of the infrequent times this season.
All of that quartet have dealt with injury issues but have played enough to make their importance to the expansion team clear. Lowen has six goals and 10 assists and Klauss has scored five times in 12 appearances for St. Louis (15-10-2, 47 points), which would become the second MLS team to reach the 50-point threshold with a win.
"It's trending in the right direction," Carnell said. "And I think we've seen a lot of the pieces of the puzzle come together. Probably not all at the same fitness levels. But I think slowly, they've come together, and every minute that these guys come together, it brings us one step forward."
—Field Level Media