LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders set for two-game MLS stand-off

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The fixture list could hardly have thrown up a more dramatic finale to Major League Soccer's regular season.

With Seattle Sounders FC and the LA Galaxy tied on 60 points at the top of the table, the two sides will clash at the StubHub Center in this penultimate weekend, before meeting again at CenturyLink Field in the Emerald City next week.

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Title in the balance 

The Supporters' Shield is at stake, along with pole position in the Western Conference play-offs. At present, the Sounders lead the way with a higher number of wins, but if the hosts are victorious in Los Angeles on Sunday night then the title would swing back the other way.

As if there was any need for more importance to be placed on the double-header, the fixtures draw Landon Donovan's prestigious league career to a close, while Sigi Schmid looks to land Seattle's first MLS honors against the club where he first enjoyed success.

Postseason glory on the cards

The former will almost certainly play a pivotal role in the play-offs, but Schmid's past record suggests that a triumph here could prove crucial to postseason glory - with both the Galaxy and the Columbus Crew, securing the Shield was followed by claiming the MLS Cup.

He will come up against LA's Bruce Arena, however, who has guided his team to the summit of the Conference in five of the last three campaigns, and can boast numerous honours in the United States.

Arena also has the benefit of a squad whose form has only been bettered by an inspired New England Revolution in the final quarter of the season, despite a loss to FC Dallas.

Bad run

The Sounders, on the other hand, have slumped to three defeats in their last five matches, having previously looked set to tie up the first MLS prize with plenty to spare. They've also had great difficulty across the year in consistently disposing of their rivals' challenges.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC stole a second 1-0 win of the series to take the Cascadia Cup in Week 30, adding more concerns to a Rave Green outfit that has conceded three or more to the Revs, the Galaxy, the New York Red Bulls and Dallas.

Seattle can ill afford another such collapse in these upcoming showdowns, but they lack the experience in these situations that Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez possess in abundance.

The current leaders have repeatedly proven this term that, at their best, they are a match for anyone, but they're sure to have their work cut out if the 2014 Shield is to be their first MLS coup.

MLS Western Conference
LA Galaxy
Seattle Sounders FC

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