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2012 MLS Standings Week 20: Galaxy Gain Ground

Despite a loss at the top, there wasn't much of a shakeup in the Western Conference standings this week; San Jose are still the best team in the West and MLS by four points. The LA Galaxy are still holding on to the West's final playoff spot, but their surroundings changed. Chivas USA slipped a bit in their desire to reach the postseason.

The Galaxy have been trailing the Vancouver Whitecaps for some time, but the Whitecaps were able to leapfrog the Sounders into third place. The Galaxy and Sounders are now separated by one point, picking up ten points over the last five matches while the Sounders only managed six.

LA also put more space between them and sixth place Chivas, defeating the Goats 3-1 at The Home Depot Center on Saturday. After an up and down beginning to the season, the Galaxy have finally reached a safe place in the middle. Meanwhile, their neighbors have slid to now seven points from a playoff spot.

Chivas have jumped in front of the Colorado Rapids, but only because Colorado have lost five of their last five. The Goats also have the lowest goal per match score in MLS, and are only four points ahead of last place Portland Timbers who have lost four straight.

Chivas are tops in the third tier of the Western Conference, but the gap between the second and third tier is widening every week. Four points separate the members of the second tier, and four points separate the top two. The races to the finish look interesting, but Chivas will need to play out of their boots to keep from getting left behind.