The top spot in Group F is at stake Thursday when the Portland Timbers face off against Los Angeles FC at the MLS is Back Tournament near Orlando.
The Timbers (3-1-0, 9 points) hold the top spot in the group with a pair of victories in the tournament, while LAFC (2-0-2, 8 points) sits in striking distance with four points following a tie and an impressive 6-2 victory over their city rival, the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Both teams already have clinched a spot in the Round of 16 and will play again in knockout play next week.
Only a victory by LAFC would change the order atop the group. A loss by LAFC and a victory Thursday by the group's third-place team, the Houston Dynamo, would create a tie for second, but LAFC has a sizeable goal-differential advantage thanks to their romp over the Galaxy.
For all of the success LAFC had last season, the Timbers defeated them 1-0 in the 2019 U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals. The goal came in the 84th minute from Jeremy Ebobisse, who also scored a goal in both Timbers victories at the MLS is Back Tournament.
"I think the team believes in each other at the moment," Ebobisse said. "We got four months of good work in during quarantine, and now you're starting to see the effects of that hard work in training."
Playing without league MVP Carlos Vela, who opted out of the tournament, has not managed to slow LAFC. Diego Rossi delivered four goals while embarrassing the Galaxy, and he has five total goals through two games in the tournament. Fellow Uruguay native Francisco Ginella, in his first year with LAFC, has three tournament assists after coming on as a substitute in both games.
"I'm happy with my game," Rossi said after the victory over the Galaxy, "but I'm just as happy about the result. We'd like to continue like this."
--Field Level Media