CARSON, Calif. - Within the MLS structure, it's hard to say there is any real East vs. West rivalry between teams. The one exception to the rule might be the Los Angeles Galaxy and D.C. United. The two sides battled it out for the first ever MLS Cup, with United coming out on top in a torrential downpour, Eddie Pope heading in the game-winning goal.
Since then, the two teams have arguably been the two marquee franchises in the history of MLS. United has won four MLS Cups, while the Galaxy have reached the final four times and are the only squad to make the playoffs every year. The two teams have also been the league's standard bearers on the international stage, each winning the CONCACAF Champions Cup.
The game comes at an interesting time in the season for both teams. For the Galaxy, this weekend's game marks the last game they will play at home until September. With their history on the road, this weekend's contest might be looked back upon as the key game of this season's schedule.
"It's (Saturday's game) super important. Not only because we're going on the road, but to give us that confidence going on the road," said Herculez Gomez, who's made a major impact for the Galaxy in the past few weeks. "I think three points will really do us well and help us out chasing Dallas down."
FC Dallas currently leads the Western Conference and isn't showing any sign of slowing down. In fact, the Hoops, much like the Galaxy, are just now starting to get back to full health, as Carlos Ruiz returned last week from Gold Cup duty and Eddie Johnson is returning to fitness after a turf toe injury.
It was how the two teams have handled the adversity of being without their stars that separates them in the standings right now. The Galaxy snapped a six-game winless streak last weekend against Chivas USA, and left back Todd Dunivant said they will be trying to start a new streak on Saturday.
"That was a must-win game if there ever was one," said Dunivant about last week's result. "This weekend is big for us, especially heading into the All-Star break. We need to get a result."
The Galaxy is in need of a confidence boost, and will be looking to gain that at the expense of United. "I think they're going to come in here and play for a tie, that how most teams play here," Dunivant said. "We have to get out on them early. We play well at home, and just need to keep getting forward. If we can do that on our field, it causes problems for teams."
Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.