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Major League Soccer 2012, Week 27: What We Learned

Two more clubs clinched playoff berths while the San Jose Earthquakes showed their dominance yet again.

Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images

The heat of the playoff race is starting to show for several clubs.

Week 27 proved to be a tough one for several clubs that were in need of points. Teams like the New York Red Bulls, the Houston Dynamo and the Columbus Crew all stumbled when it mattered most this weekend.

But there were clubs that found ways through this difficult week in Major League Soccer -- and two of them even clinched a playoff berth in the process.

San Jose shows dominance

The phrase "statement win" is running wild after the San Jose Earthquakes downed the Seattle Sounders 2-1 on Saturday.

After a few weeks of being quiet, Chris Wondolowski is back in form. A couple goals on Wednesday night against Portland were just the beginning of his second wind: Wondo who made his biggest statement of all against the Sounders as he scored the game-winner; his MLS-record 10th of the season. That latest goal was his 22nd of the season -- eight more than the second top scorers in MLS.

The Quakes were able overcome the other big story on the night -- Steve Zakuani scoring his first goal since his injury last April.

San Jose now has three wins this season over the Sounders and are 8-0-0 against LA, Seattle and RSL.

LA, RSL clinch playoff berths

Two more clubs punched their tickets to the postseason with San Jose. Both Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy are going back to the playoffs.

The Galaxy earned their spot with a convincing 4-2 win over lowly Toronto FC. Paul Mariner's club couldn't muster up enough to handle Juninho's brace or Robbie Keane's insurance goal in the loss. Thanks to Seattle's loss in San Jose, the win pushed the Galaxy to second place in the West.

Juninho had two wonderful goals, one on a free kick and one from the run of play, showing just how valuable he has been to this team in David Beckham's absence.

Real Salt Lake won't make it easy on LA to pull away from them in the standings, however. If it weren't for a certain tiebreaker, Jason Kreis' club could be in second place right now instead of LA. Still, the win on Saturday over the Portland Timbers was a much needed result for RSL.

Javier Morales and Fabian Espindola stepped up in a big way -- a good time to do so considering leading scorer Alvaro Saborio is out for the next few weeks.

Chicago keeps pressure on KC

Before the week began, it seemed as though the Eastern Conference race would go straight through the Big Apple and Red Bull Arena. But a big win on Wednesday in Harrison, New Jersey for Sporting Kansas City proved that the real center of attention can be found much further west.

The Chicago Fire were snatched a big win on Saturday evening over the Columbus Crew. Chicago rode two goals from veteran Chris Rolfe, who scored his brace inside a three minute span. The Fire continue their onward movement up the standings in the East. Between Rolfe's two goals, Sean Johnson big stops, and most of all the defense stepping up a big way. Chicago demonstrated the makings of a very dangerous playoff team.

The result keeps the Fire within two points of Sporting KC after they tied the Montreal Impact 0-0 on Saturday. The draw was SKC's eight-straight unbeaten result. Now it appears the race for the Eastern Conference crown will now be decided in LIVESTRONG Sporting Park this coming week when Sporting Kansas City hosts the Fire.

Pressure is still on Vancouver after draw

It wasn't the result they were looking, for but for the Vancouver Whitecaps a 2-2 draw wasn't the worst possible thing that could have happened Sunday evening.

Vancouver scored two goals in a game for the first time since July. But their defense couldn't hold up as the Colorado Rapids were able to use their speed up top with Omar Cummings and gritty play in the final stages of the game from Jamie Smith to come back.

The Whitecaps finally got something out of Designated Player Kenny Miller. His second half goal looked to be enough to get the Caps over the hump before Smith crashed the party in the 86th minute.

Thanks to their game in hand over FC Dallas, Vancouver still hold a two point lead for the final playoff spot. The race for fifth will come down to the final four weeks of the season.