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LA Galaxy Portland Timbers match preview

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Galaxy are in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup playoffs, can they improve their positioning on Sunday versus a Timbers side fighting to make the postseason? (4 pm, FS1)

Currently, LA occupy the 2nd spot in the West on 51 points, Vancouver has 50 points and Sporting Kansas City have 48 (and a game in hand), while FC Dallas leads the standings with 54 points.

Will Giovani dos Santos play? It's possible, but doubtful. Remember, dos Santos suffered a similar muscle injury in the summer during the Gold Cup, so its especially important Gio is healthy and rested for the playoffs. 

However, AJ DeLaGarza and Baggio Husidic are closer to returning.

This is a pivotal match for the Galaxy, and not just because LA are seeking a first-round bye. The Galaxy have only won once in their past five games, and though the lure of a home game looks promising, LA have struggled to put together a consistent 90 minutes that delivers both attacking soccer and rock-solid defending for some time.

Look, the Galaxy travel to Sporting Kansas City next week, and the odds of LA figuring things out in that stadium, on that pitch, versus that team are slim. Sunday is probably the Galaxy's last chance to get the midfield balance strengthened out and the back four organized among other issues.

All that being said, I'm sure Bruce is telling himself LA should have won in Seattle, and with a positive result on vs. the Timbers, the Galaxy can get the ball rolling on one of those patented MLS Cup runs.