On the verge of the longest winning streak in team history, Chivas USA is suddenly looking like a force to be reckoned with.
Coach Wilmer Cabrera's club tries to make it five in a row when it visits D.C. United on Sunday night.
Chivas (6-7-5) has turned things around after struggling early, winning each of its four league games since the World Cup break by a combined 6-1 score.
"Obviously, we didn't have the start of the season that we wanted," captain Carlos Bocanegra told the team's official website. "We caught our hot streak, we got our wins at the moment and we want to continue with this. Obviously we know we're not going to win-out for the rest of the year, that's very difficult to do.
"We're in the mix and we're giving ourselves a chance, that's the biggest thing."
With 23 points, Chivas is sitting a few out of the Western Conference playoff picture. The club had squeezed out three consecutive 1-0 victories before winning 3-1 at Vancouver last Saturday to match a four-game win streak from Sept. 20-Oct. 11, 2008, for the longest in team history.
"We earned three points that are very much needed in order to continue building on and growing as a team," forward Leandro Barrera said. "We've woken up, to say it differently. We hope that we continue this positive streak that will take us to bigger things and every day we're getting stronger."
Star forward Erick Torres scored for the fifth straight game, giving him 13 goals to rank among the league leaders. Mauro Rosales helped find Torres and also assisted on the other two goals, scored by Agustin Pelletieri and Barrera.
"If Torres is the only person that is going to score goals, that's OK, but Torres calls for attention, everyone is thinking about Torres and that opens the possibilities," Cabrera said. "Today, it was Agustin and Leandro. That was important for them and it was important for the team. It also shows that we're getting stronger and more confident little by little.
"It's important to continue believing in what we are doing."
United (9-5-4) returns home following a pair of 2-1 road victories, getting by Toronto FC on July 5 and San Jose last Friday. D.C. hasn't won three in a row since 2012.
Eddie Johnson and Luis Silva gave United an early 2-0 lead and Bill Hamid made a season-best seven saves, one off his career high. Hamid is the first homegrown player in MLS history to reach 100 games with his original team.
"He's been very good all year long," coach Ben Olsen said. "It's always fun to watch these guys grow over the years. Bill is one of those guys on and off the field who has continually grown in front of our eyes."
Hamid's 1.14 goals allowed per game ranks as one of the league's top marks. He's yielded five goals in five games against Chivas, going 3-1-1 with 14 saves.
Torres provided all the offense as Chivas took last season's only meeting against United, 1-0 at home Sept. 8. However, Chivas is 0-2-1 in the last three road matches in the series.