Rapids back in the playoff picture after Portland win, other results going their way

COMMERCE CITY, CO - JUNE 30: Jamie Smith #20 of the Colorado Rapids and teammate Marvell Wynne #22 of the Colorado Rapids show their appreciation for the fans after their game against the Portland Timbers at Dick's Sporting Goods Park June 30, 2012 in Commerce City, Colorado. The Rapids won the game 3-0. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

The win over the Portland Timbers was not only a fantastic reprieve from the losing ways that the Rapids had been lost in the past few weeks, but it was a huge three point step in the playoff picture too.

When the Rapids dropped the six pointer to the Vancouver Whitecaps and then faltered against the league leading San Jose Earthquakes, they fell down to sixth place in the West and out of the playoffs thanks to a resurgent run by the LA Galaxy. Things weren't looking up, but some solid results helped out the Rapids who are now in fifth place.

Real Salt Lake (2nd place) and the Galaxy (5th place) both lost while the Seattle Sounders (3rd place) drew. Combined with the Rapids win over Portland, they gained ground on two teams and leapfrogged the other, all the while separating themselves from Chivas USA and the Timbers.

Next up on the docket? The two teams in fourth and third place in the West, both only four points ahead of the Rapids. Two wins to finish off the week and we're suddenly looking at a much different playoff picture in the Western Conference.

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