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2012 MLS playoffs: LA Galaxy host Whitecaps in Western Conference knockout round

The LA Galaxy begin their MLS Cup title defense on Thursday against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

The LA Galaxy will attempt to take the first step toward defending their MLS Cup title on Thursday when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the MLS Western Conference knockout round.

The winner of Thursday's match will advance in the MLS Cup playoffs and face the San Jose Earthquakes in the two-game Western Conference Semifinal. The Galaxy have had plenty of success against the Whitecaps, including a 2-0-1 record against Vancouver this season. Los Angeles has not lost to Vancouver since the Whitecaps joined the MLS last season.

The Galaxy were forced to play in the knockout round after they finished fourth in the Western Conference during the regular season. The top three seeds automatically advanced to the semifinal round. Los Angeles has advanced to the Western Conference Championship in each of the previous three seasons.

Thursday's match is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. PT from the Home Depot Center. The game will be nationally broadcasted on the NBC Sports Network and Univision Deportes.