Carlos Vela’s goal in the 64th minute Tuesday night earned LAFC a 1-1 draw against Minnesota United in St. Paul, Minn., ending a four-game road skid but leaving LAFC two points shy of capturing the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
LAFC (19-8-4), the only West team in MLS that has clinched a postseason berth, could have secured home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs if it had won Tuesday. The team still can do so Wednesday night if Real Salt Lake beats or draws Austin FC.
Minnesota United (13-12-6) took a 1-0 lead on Brent Kallman’s header off a corner kick just before the half. But LAFC took charge early in the second half, tying the score on Vela’s ninth goal of the season, a left-footed strike from just outside the penalty area.
A freak bounce that sent the ball over the head of goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau four minutes into stoppage time nearly cost LAFC the game, but midfielder Kellyn Acosta saved the point with a sliding tackle that took the ball off the foot of Minnesota’s Emanuel Reynoso in front of the empty net.
LAFC, which has three regular-season games left, returns to Banc of California Stadium on Sunday when it hosts the Houston Dynamo.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.