The Los Angeles Galaxy admit they feel some lingering bitterness after falling shy of reaching the MLS Cup last year, and facing the defending champions will only serve as a reminder.
Los Angeles may have more urgent things to worry about, however, with two key players missing Saturday night's match.
The Galaxy will be without Landon Donovan and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts when they visit the Colorado Rapids, as both clubs try to extend lengthy unbeaten streaks.
Los Angeles (8-2-7) won the Supporters' Shield last year, but lost to FC Dallas in the Western Conference finals.
Colorado which advanced out of the Eastern Conference as a wild card, defeated Dallas 2-1 for the league title.
"I remember watching the final last year and having a bitter taste in my mouth, thinking it should have been us," forward Mike Magee told the Galaxy's official website. "All those things definitely will be on my mind."
The teams are in similar positions this year. Los Angeles has a league-high 31 points, while Colorado (5-3-7) is tied for third place with 22.
The Galaxy are 4-0-4 in their last eight games, including ties in the last two. It's their longest undefeated stretch since going 12 games without a loss to open 2010.
Los Angeles settled for a 2-all home draw against Toronto FC last Saturday, conceding a goal in the final moments of stoppage time. It was particularly frustrating because the Galaxy had gone ahead on Juan Pablo Angel's goal in the 90th minute.
"When you score a goal that late, we thought we had won," Galaxy midfielder David Beckham said. "It happens, but we have to be a bit smarter than that."
Los Angeles was without Donovan, who leads the club with eight goals, and Ricketts. Donovan will lead the U.S. national team against Ricketts' Jamaica squad in Sunday's Gold Cup quarterfinals.
Midfielder Juninho was also absent last Saturday, but is expected to return after getting married in Brazil.
Colorado comes in on a club-record nine-game unbeaten streak (2-0-7). After six consecutive draws, the Rapids won 1-0 at Portland last Saturday for their first win since May 4 against Houston.
The teams were scoreless last Saturday until Drew Moor scored in the 90th minute.
"I don't think it's a relief," Moor said. "Nobody really panicked; nobody thought we were struggling because we were tying games. We were still playing good soccer ... but it's always nice to get three points, especially on the road."
Colorado has tied its last four home games.
While Los Angeles will be short-handed, Colorado welcomes back forward Omar Cummings, who has two goals and an assist in seven games. He's been out since May 4 with an ankle problem.
"I always love the challenge against LA," he said. "It's one of my favorite games."
Colorado and Los Angeles split two meetings last year, with each team winning on the road. The Galaxy's 1-0 win on May 5, 2010, was their first ever at Dick's Sporting Goods Park and their first win in Colorado in nearly eight years.