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STANDINGS: Divide Forms Between Top Contenders, Bubble Teams in Week 24

FRISCO - It was moving week in the Western Conference standings over the weekend as a gap widened between the top teams and those fighting for a playoff berth. 

# Team Points Record Games Rem. Goal Diff.
1 FC Dallas 45 13-7-6 8 5
2 Colorado Rapids 43 11-3-10 10 7
3 Real Salt Lake 40 11-8-7 8 1
4 Sporting KC 38 11-11-5 7 2
5 LA Galaxy 38 9-4-11 10 14
6 Portland Timbers 32 8-10-8 8 -2
7 San Jose Earthquakes 31 7-7-10 10 -1
8 Seattle Sounders FC 30 9-12-3 10 -2
9 Vancouver Whitecaps 30 8-12-6 8 -9
10 Houston Dynamo 24 5-10-9 10 -3

FC Dallas maintained the top spot in the West despite falling late in Utah, but their grasp on that spot narrowed as Colorado picked up a road point in a 0-0 draw against Orlando City SC. Real Salt Lake and Sporting KC both jumped up in the table with wins, leaping past the LA Galaxy who fell in New York, 1-0.

Regardless, the top five teams in the conference are now separated by just 7 points heading into the last 7-10 games, depending on individual schedules. It remains to be seen if SKC can hold their own in this group, sitting at the bottom with a conference-low 7 games remaining.  As all five look to lock up a playoff spot and jockey for home-field advantage with the coveted top two spots in the coming weeks, the last two months of the season are shaping up to be quite a ride. Six of FCD's last 8 games are against teams currently holding a Western Conference playoff spot, with another game against Eastern Conference-leading NYCFC also on the books. 

Below the top five, another race is quickly developing with seasons - and inevitably jobs - on the line. The next four teams are all now separated by just two points. Portland, with a 3-1 loss against Seattle on Sunday, now holds just a one point lead on the 6th and final spot above the red line. San Jose couldn't capitalize on a chance to grab hold of the final spot, falling to the Houston Dynamo on Viernes de Futbol. Seattle continued their climb into the playoff conversation with that dominating performance over Portland, and pulled themselves just two points back of the final playoff spot with two games in hand over their Cascadia foes. Vancouver is still in the mix, currently in 9th place with 30 points, but with two fewer games remaining than Seattle, they'll need to turn it on down the stretch.

And then there's Houston. Under Wade Barrett, the Dynamo have shown improvement - including Friday's win on the road in San Jose - but it might be too little, too late for Dallas' Texas Derby rivals. In last place with 24 points and 10 games remaining, they'll need a near-perfect final two months to sniff the playoff hunt.

Houston, LA, San Jose and Seattle are all playing double-match weeks with six games on Wednesday night, so don't be surprised if the standings look a bit different next week. 

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