MLS Western Conference Update: Playoff Positioning

San Jose fans sure do love their nonsensical tifos. - John Medina

The five playoff teams are set, thanks to FC Dallas bowing out against Seattle. The one thing left to determine is second place, which, really, is a pretty meaningless formality in a two-leg first round contest.

San Jose Earthquakes

10/21 result: 2-2 draw vs Los Angeles

The Timbers' next opponent is hacking and diving their way to a Supporters Shield, having already clinched it, for all intents and purposes, quite a while ago. We'll have more about them later in the week.

10/27 projection: 69% chance of a win at Portland

Seattle Sounders

10/21 result: 3-1 win vs Dallas

I daresay the Sounders look ready for the playoffs, at least based on their recent dominating 3-goal performances, albeit against the likes of Dallas and Portland. Their scoreless draw (for which they must thank Michael Gspurning) against Salt Lake, however, might be a sign that they still struggle against the stronger teams in the league and may be due for another early exit.

10/28 projection: 40% chance of a win at Los Angeles

Real Salt Lake

10/17 result: 0-0 draw at Seattle

Derp. After scoring eight times in three matches, suggesting they might be getting some of that swagger back, this week has been a disheartening reminder of the problems they have had this season. First, the 0-0 draw against a Sounders side playing with ten men for most of the match. Then last night they failed to get a goal against Costa Rican side Herediano at Rio Tinto, cutting short their CONCACAF Champions League run.

They'll get one more chance to hone their craft before reprising last year's Western Conference semifinal round against the Sounders. Fun times.

10/27 projection: 42% chance of a win vs Vancouver

LA Galaxy

10/21 result: 2-2 draw at San Jose

The impressive run at the playoffs that the Galaxy started in June (12-4-4) seems to have stalled all of a sudden, as they've gone a month without a win. I should note, however, that during that stretch they have beaten a non-Canadian playoff-bound team just twice -- against RSL and Chicago.

10/28 projection: 34% chance of a win vs Seattle

Vancouver Whitecaps

10/21 result: 1-0 loss vs Portland

Absolutely dreadful. That the Caps might reach the playoffs with the same record as the 2011 Timbers (the Timbers would actually advance ahead of them on the goals-scored tie breaker) is just depressing. It's mostly depressing for Vancouver fans who will need a miracle to get past the first round against a team they have not beaten in five MLS-era tries.

10/27 projection: 32% chance of a win at Salt Lake

FC Dallas

10/21 result: 3-1 loss at Seattle

All I can do is shake my head. You can't make it to the playoffs if you can't beat Chivas. Even though they technically had to lose to Seattle to be eliminated, Dallas sealed their fate with that draw against the West's worst. Sunday's match was just a confirmation of Dallas' shortfall, as they got sliced and diced repeatedly by Seattle's offense. They'll have to wait until next year now.

10/28 projection: 68% chance of a win vs Chivas

Colorado Rapids

10/20 result: 2-0 win at Chivas

Another team wondering what happened. It certainly can't be put all on the season-long absence of Pablo Mastroeni, who has finally returned to a regular training regimen after a long recovery from a concussion. Did the team just massively under-perform in 2012 or are the key pieces just not what they used to be?

10/27 projection: 28% chance of a win vs Houston

Chivas USA

10/20 result: 2-0 loss vs Colorado

What's worse than Chivas USA? Chivas USA without Dan Kennedy, who was out with a knee injury. His replacement, 26-year-old Tim Melia, made his MLS debut, bobbling his way to a 2-0 loss, which, of course, was two better than Dan Kennedy did against Vancouver. As bad as Chivas has been over the past ... forever, it's hard to imagine them being worse in 2013 than they were this year.

10/28 projection: 18% chance of a win at Dallas

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