LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders Showdown: Which MLS coaching legend has the edge ahead of Sunday?

The LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders will battle it out in a home-and-home over the next two weeks to determine which team takes home this year's Supporters' Shield and the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. It all starts with this Sunday's nationally televised match at StubHub Center (8 pm ET, ESPN2).

This week's editors will take a look at the positional battles that will ultimately decide the outcome of both games. On Friday, we focus on the two teams' benches.

Monday: Penedo gives the Galaxy the goalkeeping edge
Tuesday: LA's strong backline clearly better than Seattle's
Wednesday: Seattle has the potential to edge LA in midfield
Thursday: Both teams boast immense firepower up front
Friday: Which bench could make the difference?

Team Analysis

Arena has historically had the edge in this series in games that really matter, and he’s forged a pretty boss-like career of his own. He’s won the double twice as well – with D.C. United in 1997 and then the Galaxy in 2011 – and like Schmid, he’s had arguably his most successful year to date in LA this year. Consider the extenuating circumstances Arena and his group have endured this year – Omar Gonzalez gone for the World Cup, the Landon Donovan saga, tragedy for defender AJ DeLaGarza – and the Galaxy’s challenge for the Shield is even more impressive. But most important for now? Arena has lost just once in this matchup in the teams’ past six meetings overall – the only one came in the 2012 postseason, when the Galaxy won the two-legged Western Conference final series anyway – and his team holds the psychological edge.

There’s a reason the CenturyLink PA staff plays James Brown’s “The Boss” when Sigi Schmid strolls onto the field on game days. Despite being the winningest head coach in MLS history – his 206 regular-season wins are 30 more than Bruce Arena and 67 more than Dominic Kinnear – he’s been under pressure each of the past two seasons to produce something more than a US Open Cup title in Seattle. He’s won doubles before – with the 2002 Galaxy and the 2008 Columbus Crew – and he’s done a masterful job running this Sounders team, easily the best in his six seasons there. No matter what, however, he’s going to have to break that LA hex sooner or later.