This is it.
The Portland Timbers start the defense of their MLS Cup title today with a match against the same team that they beat to lift the Cup at the end of last year, the Columbus Crew SC. With few changes for either team, this will truly be a rematch of the 2015 MLS Cup Final.
Match Preview: "In this match, Asprilla's health will be an important factor as he and Melano will be given the task of keeping the Crew's dynamic, attack-minded fullbacks earnest and looking to find the spaces in behind their runs forward as the Timbers look to hit the Crew on the break. The task will not be easy as the Timbers' wingers will be matched up against Harrison Afful and Waylon Francis, two of the best fullbacks in MLS last year and two vital parts of the Crew attack. Afful, despite playing only nine regular season matches with the Crew, notched three assists last season, while Francis managed seven in his full season with the team."
Preview Interview: "Asked about how many goals he can score this year, Kamara recently said he believes he's got more in him than last year. Now that would be impressive considering his previous best goal-scoring output in MLS was 11 in 2012. As Kamara likes to remind us, African players tend to hit their stride late in their career, so maybe he can have another remarkable season."
Watch it on: ESPN
Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. PT at Providence Park in Portland, OR
Portland Timbers: 0-0-0
Columbus Crew: 0-0-0