MLS Cup Playoffs

Supporters' Shield to be decided in final two matches between Seattle and LA

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Sounders FC and the LA Galaxy are destined for a showdown over the final two matches to determine the Supporters’ Shield winner. No team in MLS can catch the two Western Conference front-runners, meaning one or the other will be crowned regular-season champion during the home-and-away matches on October 19 and 25.

While some players admitted they were scoreboard watching ahead of Seattle’s 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, Head Coach Sigi Schmid said LA’s 3-0 win over Toronto FC the previous day had no bearing on the motivation of his team. Instead, it was just the same desire the squad has shown all year as it has eclipsed the club record for victories in a season.

“We’ve been in first place for a while now and we didn’t want to give it up. We wanted to get the three points today,” Schmid said after the win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. “We’ve got 19 wins now and we want to keep going.”

Added midfielder Marco Pappa, who had a goal and an assist to power Seattle’s fruitful attack on Sunday: “You see the results, but that’s it. We don’t worry about [other teams]. We worry about us. We were pretty sharp today and we were good finishing the chances we had. We know we have a good team and we’ve done well.”

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Seattle and LA are both brimming with confidence, particularly in the attack. While Seattle has 39 goals and 28 assists from the trio of Obafemi Martins, Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle, the Galaxy has gotten 45 goals and 35 assists from Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes and Landon Donovan.

Those offensive catalysts create chances for themselves and their teammates. In Seattle, the team has built more confidence in its attack as the season has progressed, resulting in its top standing in the table.

“It always helps with the confidence. Confidence is really important in soccer. We’re in first place and we’ve had good games,” Pappa said. “I hope we can continue like this and we can get stronger for the playoffs.”

Prior to the final two games, Seattle will host Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Friday, while the Galaxy visits FC Dallas on Sunday. Vancouver and Dallas are both battling for playoff spots of their own, but regardless of this coming weekend’s results, the Supporters’ Shield will be decided in the final two matches.

Said Seattle captain Brad Evans: “It truly is going to be a battle to the end.”

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