LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs: Preview and TV schedule

Victor Decolongon

The Galaxy are heavy favorites to begin their MLS Cup defense with a win over the Whitecaps.

Fairly or not, the Vancouver Whitecaps have been made out to be one of the biggest underdogs in recent MLS Playoff history. They backed their way into the postseason with a terrible finish to the regular season and are matched up against the LA Galaxy, last year's MLS Cup winners who finished the season in top form. That doesn't bode well for the Caps heading into their first ever postseason.

That the Whitecaps have struggled isn't much of a surprise. They basically blew their team up half way through the season (or blew up half the team) and banked on still being able to make the playoffs while stockpiling assets to give them a chance at becoming one of the best in the league in the future.

The Galaxy are hardly playing for the future, though. They are MLS Cup contenders for the fourth consecutive season with largely the same core of players and are trying to string out as many competitive years as they can get out of this aging squad. They added Christian Wilhelmsson late in the season to give them another top notch, if older player, and have some of the best depth and talent in the league.

Led by Bruce Arena, the Galaxy are experienced from top to bottom, which can't be said of the Whitecaps. There is no doubt who the favorite here is and some have already started previewing a Galaxy vs. Earthquakes Western Conference semifinal, but free of pressure, Vancoiver will be hunting for an upset.

Game date/time: Thursday, November 1; 10:30 p.m. ET

Venue: Home Depot Center, Carson, CA

TV: NBC Sports Network

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