The Portland Timbers believe they have what it takes to get into the playoffs in their first season.
The Timbers seek their second four-game unbeaten streak Friday night when they begin a stretch of three matches in nine days by hosting the lowly New England Revolution.
Portland (9-12-6) is in sixth place in the crowded wild-card playoff standings in which the top four qualify. The expansion Timbers are even on points with New York, trail fourth-place D.C. by one point and Houston by three.
"Going home now obviously the rest of the games are very important, and I think we all know that," forward Kenny Cooper said. "We're all incredibly hungry to get into the playoffs, we know our fans deserve it and we definitely want to do that for them."
The Timbers face New England (5-11-12) and San Jose in their next two home games before a trip to New York next Saturday in their final match of the month.
"You know it's like this every year, it comes down to about seven or eight teams, it comes down to that last game," defender David Horst said. "Every game at the end of the year is so vital. So you always have to play well every game because each could be your last."
Portland is 3-0-1 in its last four home games, including back-to-back victories that preceded last Saturday's scoreless draw at Philadelphia in which Troy Perkins recorded his seventh clean sheet. The club had its first four-game unbeaten run April 30-May 21, going 3-0-1.
The Timbers recorded their first point in franchise history April 2 in a 1-1 draw at New England.
This will be a special contest for Revolution defender Ryan Cochrane, a Portland native who has been splitting time in central defense with Franco Coria.
Cochrane has warned his teammates of the intense atmosphere at Jeld-Wen Field, and the Revolution are eager to improve upon their 1-7-6 road record.
"They're in a desperate situation, too, so they're going to be pushing a lot of numbers forward and they're going to be trying to score early just as we're going to try to do," captain Shalrie Joseph said. "If we can get that early goal and create opportunities, I think we're going to get those points that we need."
Joseph and Rajko Lekic were on target Saturday in a 2-0 win over FC Dallas that ended a seven-match winless streak. New England had blown leads in the 87th minute or later in its previous three games.
"We needed that win, especially being 1-0 up and being able to hold on in such a hard game against one of the better teams in the league," Joseph said. "It helps our confidence and it helps us going into Portland (knowing) that we can definitely hang onto a lead and definitely be a better team if we do what we need to do."
New England is tied with Chicago and Toronto FC for the fewest points in the Eastern Conference.