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Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy, 2016 MLS: Match Preview

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-LA Galaxy at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

It’s far and wide one of the biggest games of the weekend. The last two MLS Cup champions collide in their second and last meeting of the MLS regular season as the Portland Timbers play host to the LA Galaxy.

After more than half the season gone, both sides have highlighted their Western Conference credentials and currently sit on top of a playoff spot. In that sense, for the Galaxy it is about keeping their momentum going. Bruce Arena’s side is currently unbeaten in their last five league games, including three straight victories. They also took down the Seattle Sounders midweek in the US Open Cup.

The obvious peak for the Galaxy was when they almost went 10 games unbeaten earlier in the season. This run, however, can’t be discounted. For Bruce Arena and Co., things are finally clinging together, and with a squad that is close to 100% healthy, the hope now is they can show their true potential.

But if it’s good runs we are talking about, the Portland Timbers are not far behind. In fact, the current MLS Cup champions are unbeaten in their astounding last nine league games. They also arrive to this match after beating the Sounders, with Diego Valeri scoring twice en-route to a 3-1 victory.

It is not hard to tell that this is one of the toughest benchmarks remaining for the Galaxy in their regular season schedule. The Timbers are after all the champions for a reason, but if there is any sort of motivational factor behind this game it is the fact that the Galaxy already beat the Timbers once at Providence Park. Sure, it was in the US Open Cup, but it takes away their air of invincibility. A win here would serve more than just a way to keep the Galaxy’s momentum going but it would be a small statement to the league. Who knows? Maybe these sides well meet again com November.

LAST MEETING

Portland Timbers 0-1 LA Galaxy - June 30, 2016 - US Open Cup

Raul Mendiola scored an early goal as the Galaxy held on to seal a place in the US Open Cup quarterfinals.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

LA Galaxy (4-2-3-1): Rowe; DeLaGarza, Steres, Van Damme, Cole; De Jong, Larentowicz; Zardes, Gerrard, dos Santos; Keane

Portland Timbers (4-2-3-1): Gleeson; Powell, Ridgewell, Borchers, Taylor; Jewsbury, Chara; Nagbe, Valeri, Melando; Adi