Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan have been stellar lately, but the Los Angeles Galaxy are still struggling on the road.
Improving their play away from Los Angeles could prove challenging Saturday night as the Galaxy visit one of the league's best home teams, the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Keane kept the Galaxy's winless stretch at just two games by recording his second career MLS hat trick in a 4-2 victory over visiting Real Salt Lake on Saturday. He followed by scoring both goals in a 2-0 home victory over Costa Rican club Cartagines in CONCACAF Champions League play Tuesday.
Donovan assisted on both scores and had another assist in the last week's league win. He also recorded his own hat trick in a 3-all tie at FC Dallas on Aug. 11, his return from helping the United States win the Gold Cup.
"We're very in tune with each other. We know each other's runs and where we want to be," Keane said.
The Galaxy have remained in playoff position in the Western Conference, but they're only one point ahead of the two teams that are tied the fifth and final postseason spot, Vancouver and FC Dallas.
Los Angeles (11-9-4) could boost its hopes with a second win in nine road games but it's traveling to BC Place, where the Whitecaps are 8-1-3. Vancouver (10-8-6) has won five of six at home but is 1-3-1 in its last five overall, a stretch that began with a 2-1 loss in Los Angeles on July 20.
The Whitecaps managed three shots on goal in last Saturday's 2-0 defeat in Colorado. Vancouver has scored 25 of its 36 goals at home.
"We're the home team, and we need to put the other team under pressure," coach Martin Rennie said. "We've been doing very well at home and scoring quite a lot of goals. We need to keep that going."
Camilo Sanvezzo, among the league leaders with 14 goals, has scored nine times at home, and Kenny Miller has five of his seven at BC Place. However, it was Russell Teibert who shined in a 3-1 home win over Los Angeles on May 11, scoring his only two goals this season.
Darren Mattocks, who also scored in that game, returned from knee surgery in last week's loss, and the Whitecaps might get even healthier this week.
There's a chance that captain Jay DeMerit could make his return from an Achilles injury that's kept him out since March. Fellow defender Andy O'Brien could play for the first time since straining his hamstring in Seattle on June 8.