Just one point separates LAFC in eighth to San Jose in ninth and with the top seven qualifying for the playoffs at the end of the regular season, time is running out for the two California-based sides.
Since their inaugural Major League Soccer season in 2018, LAFC have progressed to the playoffs in each of their three campaigns, coming closest to winning the competition in 2019.
Defeat to Portland Timbers in the semi-final ended their hopes of an MLS Cup and Supporters' Shied double, after they had finished eight points clear of second-placed New York City FC in the overall table.
Their Supporters' Shied win secured a place in the CONCACAF Champions League for LAFC, yet their maiden appearance in North America's premier club competition also ended in disappointment, this time as runners-up.
Mexican side Tigres UANL triumphed on the night, scoring the winning goal through Andre-Pierre Gignac with six minutes to play, preventing what would have been the first US-based winners of the competition since their rivals LA Galaxy lifted the trophy in 2000.
LA Galaxy remain the first and last MLS club to have won the Champions League, with the division's record winners having dealt a blow to LAFC's playoff hopes in their most recent runout.
Drawing 1-1 in the latest edition of 'El Trafico', LAFC missed the opportunity to cut the gap to seventh-placed Minnesota United to just one point, meaning they have it all to do in their final six matches of the season.
LAFC will start their pursuit of points when San Jose travel South down the West Coast this weekend, and they hold hopes of a playoff spot too.
Unlike LAFC, San Jose have tasted MLS Cup victory on two occasions, but since their most recent victory in 2003, the Earthquakes have struggled to qualify for the playoffs on a consistent basis.
Progressing only twice in the previous eight seasons, San Jose will be keen to squeeze into this year's edition and hopefully spring a surprise when the knockout matches come around.
A firm outsider to qualify at this stage of the season, anything but a win against LAFC will all but end their hopes, making Saturday's fixture a crucial match for both sides.
Four of San Jose's last six matches come against teams above them in the table and on recent form, it does look like the Earthquakes will be sitting out another MLS playoff campaign.
Beaten in their previous two fixtures against Vancouver Whitecaps and Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders, San Jose will look towards their head-to-head record against LAFC for inspiration in this matchup.
Unbeaten in the last four meetings with their fellow Golden State opponents, including the pair's two games already this season, San Jose will leapfrog LAFC with a win on Saturday and maybe even set up a late dash for the playoffs.
As if their task was not already tough enough, LAFC will enter the final few weeks of the season without a number of important players.
Eddie Segura, Erik Duenas and Kwadwo Opoku will all be absent through knee injuries, whereas Julian Gaines is still suffering from a buttocks problem sustained during his time at the Las Vegas Lights.
Carlos Vela has been an integral part of the LAFC side since his arrival in 2018, yet the captain of the club has had a troublesome year with injuries, missing large chunks of the campaign.
The Mexico international has not played since late August after a recurring hamstring injury sidelined the 32-year-old once more.
In contrast to LAFC, San Jose will enter Saturday's match with a relatively clean bill of health, yet they will not be able to call upon the services of Eric Remedi, who is suspended as a result of the number of yellow cards he has accumulated.
Benji Kikanovic found the net the last time these two met and the San Jose-born striker will start up front for the Earthquakes, whilst hoping to add to his two goals this season.
Los Angeles FC possible starting lineup:
Blackman; Fall, Murillo, Farfan; Blessing, Crisostomo, Atuesta, Edwards; Cifuentes, Rodriguez, Arango
San Jose Earthquakes possible starting lineup:
Marcinkowski; Abecasis, Nathan, Alanis, Lopez; Silva Tavares, Yueill; Lopez, Fierro, Espinoza; Kikanovic
We say: Los Angeles FC 1-2 San Jose Earthquakes
There is a high chance neither of these sides make it to the playoffs, yet those hopes will almost certainly be dashed whichever team loses this encounter.
A draw does not really suit anyone, leaving what should be an open and frantic affair, with San Jose likely best placed to take the three points.
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