Seattle Sounders face Los Angeles FC on Saturday in what Brian Schmetzer has described as a game "between two of the biggest clubs" in MLS.
Reigning MLS Cup champions LAFC head to Lumen Field with two wins under their belt from their two games this season – they are second in the Western Conference, one place ahead of Seattle, who are also on six points but lost at FC Cincinnati last time out.
LAFC were beaten by Alajuelense in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday but have still progressed in that competition thanks to a 3-0 win in the first leg.
And Schmetzer knows the Sounders will have to be at their best to end LAFC's winning start to the MLS season.
"This feels like a game between two of the biggest clubs in the league," said Schmetzer.
"We're really focused on playing up to our potential and then we'll see what the scoreline says at the end of the game.
"They're defending champs, it's a big game, and I hope to see everybody out there. We'll need the fans."
Schmetzer's sentiment was echoed by Seattle midfielder Cristian Roldan, who added: "This is another opportunity to send a statement out to the rest of the league, to ourselves, that we can compete with the best on a weekly basis."
LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo, meanwhile, will be looking for more cutting edge from his side after their 2-1 defeat to Alajuelense.
"We're happy to be further in the competition, which was our objective," he said in a press conference.
"We created many chances, didn't finish. The only difference [from the first leg] was they scored a goal in the first half.
"We were a little too loose in our defensive transition. If we finish our chances early, the run of the game looks much different."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Seattle Sounders – Jordan Morris
Jordan Morris scored in each of Seattle's first two home games this season. The only Sounders player to score in the team's first three home matches of a season was Obafemi Martins in 2015.
Los Angeles FC – Denis Bouanga
Denis Bouanga has had a flying start to 2023, scoring five goals – including a hat-trick in the first leg against Alajuelense – and assisting a further two.
Bouanga has contributed to four goals in two matches so far this MLS season (two goals, two assists) after recording only three goal contributions (three goals) in 10 matches for LAFC last term.
MATCH PREDICTION – SEATTLE TO WIN
Seattle won their opening two home games of the MLS season by a combined score of 6-0. The Sounders have won their first three home matches of a campaign on two previous occasions, back in 2019 and 2021.
Indeed, that third victory in 2021 came against LAFC, whose inaugural MLS game was a 1-0 win over the Sounders in March 2018.
Since then, however, Seattle are unbeaten in six straight home meetings with LAFC (W4 D2).
OPTA WIN PROBABILITY
Seattle Sounders – 41 per cent
Los Angeles FC – 30.9 per cent
Draw – 28.1 per cent