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The Western Conference: Starting to Shake Out

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We take a quick look at the landscape of the Western Conference.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers managed another come-from-behind victory on Saturday, grabbing two goals after conceding the opener against the San Jose Earthquakes. The three points came at a vital time for the team as they maintained their one-point deficit behind the Vancouver Whitecaps, staying within striking distance if their rivals should stumble.

Beyond the Timbers' and Whitecaps victories, however, there were several interesting results that effect the playoff landscape in the Western Conference of MLS.

With FC Dallas losing to Vancouver and Real Salt Lake losing to Chivas USA, the Timbers somehow remain in contention for third place in the West. Granted, the Timbers would need to pick up at a least seven points from their remaining three games and FCD and RSL would need to lose out for such craziness to occur (ok, if the Timbers picked up nine points, either team could get a draw somewhere in there and everything would be just fine.

At the bottom of the table, Chivas, San Jose, and the Colorado Rapids have all been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and will be relegated to the role of spoiler for the remainder of the season. Chivas, who had picked up one point from their last twelve heading into last night's match, are now only two points back from San Jose with 27 and 29 points respectively. San Jose may have a game in hand, but they are in real danger of dropping into last place in the West. It is entirely possible that the West's wooden spoon could be decided in the final match of the regular season, when Chivas will host the Earthquakes at the StubHub Center.

The top of the Western Conference also remains very much in question as neither the Seattle Sounders nor the LA Galaxy have been able to create any separation from their competition. Both teams are on 61, but the Sounders' 19 wins to LA's 17 gives them the edge, as long as the two teams remain tied. Agains, however, the scheduling gods of MLS have set up a potential final week showdown as LA and Seattle are actually set to face off twice in the final seven days of the season.

What do you think the final standings in the West will be? Who will stand on top of the conference at the end of the season and who will be down at its bottom?