For Liverpool, for Tottenham, the Champions League final (2 p.m. Saturday, TNT) is their chance. The stakes are always high with the European Cup on the line, but it’s striking just how desperate both of these sides are to take home this trophy.

After losing last year in the Champions League final, Liverpool this year put together one of the best seasons in English top-division history. The Reds’ astonishing improvement nearly overcame Manchester City in the Premier League. Now once again reaching the finals in the Champions League, Jurgen Klopp’s men must feel like this is the best chance to finally collect a winner’s medal.

As forlorn as Liverpool has been, though, it’s nothing compared to trophy-starved Tottenham. While Liverpool might be thinking this is the team’s best chance at a trophy, the Spurs must be feeling like this is their only chance. Manager Mauricio Pochettino has dragged his team, magically at times, not only into Europe but all the way to the final.

Both teams are desperate to lift the cup. Only one will see its trophy drought broken.

Short takes

• The U.S. U-20 men’s national team won its final two group-stage matches at the World Cup, qualifying the squad for the knockout round. There, it will meet France, home of one of the most famous youth-development systems in the world. Before the tournament began, the U.S. was targeting a trip to the semifinals, a round it has reached only once before. Defeating France, even in the round of 16, would be a major accomplishment.

• All 23 women on the U.S. World Cup roster are from the NWSL, but the U.S. is hardly the only country that’s drawing heavily from the league, or from the United States. Besides the U.S., 12 national teams have at least one player based stateside, including 35 NWSL players, 15 college players and two high-schoolers (both on the Jamaica squad). This makes the U.S. the best-represented country in the world at the tournament.


MLS: LAFC at Portland, 9:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2. Come to see if Portland’s additions to Providence Park have robbed the old arena of its soul. Then stay to see whether all-conquering LAFC can continue its dominating run at the top of the league. Starting the season on a 12-game road trip owing to stadium renovations, the Timbers have scuffled along the bottom of the Western Conference. Domination at home, though, could quickly shoot the Timbers up the standings.


Writer Jon Marthaler gives you a recap of recent events and previews the week ahead. E-mail: