MLS Western Conference Week 25: Home Stretch

A good visual representation of what both teams have been doing in 2012.

Well, the home stretch of the 2012 season is upon us. With Seattle's victory on Saturday over Chivas, San Jose is officially the first team to clinch a spot in the playoffs. The rest of the teams have roughly seven matches to make their case.

The top five of the Western Conference has been very stable in its composition all year, with four out of the five teams having solidified their place as early as April. The only teams to switch places since the end of the first month have been the Rapids and the Galaxy -- Colorado sneaking in early on before collapsing in epic fashion, and Los Angeles inevitably overcoming their slow start to solidify their spot in mid-July.

Contrast that with the Eastern Conference, where every team except Toronto has managed to climb into playoff contention at one point or another this season, and where at least three places in the final five remain uncertain.

The five Western Conference teams currently in playoff position will almost certainly advance, with the only question mark being on whether Vancouver's mediocrity will be enough to stay afloat above an equally questionable Dallas side (note that my own projection has Dallas overtaking Vancouver).

Chivas, nine points behind Vancouver but with two games in hand, could also conceivably make a run at the final spot. But that's an unlikely scenario, considering 20 of the 41 goals Chivas have conceded in 2012 have been allowed in the six games since they acquired Shalrie Joseph.

Take a look at the numbers behind each team's projected standing, after the jump.

San Jose Earthquakes

Current points: 53, 1.96 ppm
Remaining matches: 7
Previous result: 4-0 win vs Chivas
Last five: 10 points, +6 GD
Ryan's projection: 66
Andy's projection: 71

Seattle Sounders

Current points: 47, 1.74 ppm
Remaining matches: 7
Previous result: 2-1 win vs Chivas
Last five: 10 points, +6 GD
Ryan's projection: 60
Andy's projection: 64

Real Salt Lake

Current points: 46, 1.59 ppm
Remaining matches: 5
Previous result: 1-0 loss at Houston
Last five: 4 points, -2 GD
Ryan's projection: 53
Andy's projection: 55

LA Galaxy

Current points: 43, 1.54 ppm
Remaining matches: 6
Previous result: 2-0 win vs Vancouver
Last five: 10 points, +4 GD
Ryan's projection: 53
Andy's projection: 54

Vancouver Whitecaps

Current points: 37, 1.32 ppm
Remaining matches: 6
Previous result: 2-0 loss at Los Angeles
Last five: 3 points, -6 GD
Ryan's projection: 46
Andy's projection: 41

FC Dallas

Current points: 33, 1.14 ppm
Remaining matches: 5
Previous result: 1-1 draw vs Seattle
Last five: 10 points, +2 GD
Ryan's projection: 38
Andy's projection: 43

Chivas USA

Current points: 28, 1.08 ppm
Remaining matches: 8
Previous result: 2-1 loss at Seattle
Last five: 2 points, -9 GD
Ryan's projection: 37
Andy's projection: 31

Colorado Rapids

Current points: 29, 1.04 ppm
Remaining matches: 6
Previous result: 3-0 win vs Portland
Last five: 4 points, -2 GD
Ryan's projection: 35
Andy's projection: 34

Portland Timbers

Current points: 27, 1.00 ppm
Remaining matches: 7
Previous result: 3-0 loss at Colorado
Last five: 7 points, -2 GD
Ryan's projection: 33
Andy's projection: 30

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