Wednesday, January 19 2022
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 01: Javier Hernandez #14 of Galaxy
Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, shown here against the Seattle Sounders on Monday, scored twice in the Galaxy’s season-ending draw to Minnesota on Sunday. (Steph Chambers / Getty Images)

The Galaxy didn’t lose a game but they did lose a playoff spot Sunday, rallying to a wild 3-3 draw with Minnesota United but falling short of the postseason berth when a late goal from Albert Rusnak gave Real Salt Lake a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City.

The combined results left the Galaxy and RSL tied in the standings with 48 points, but Salt Lake will advance to the postseason on the first tiebreaker — most wins. The top seven teams advance to the playoffs and Galaxy didn’t fall below that line this season until Rusnak’s goal four minutes into stoppage time.

The Galaxy finished 13-12-9 while Real Salt is 14-14-6.

LAFC, which needed a win in Colorado on Sunday to keep alive its playoff hopes also fell short, getting blown out 5-2. The five goals were the most LAFC allowed in a game this season.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernández single-handedly kept the Galaxy in the playoff hunt, twice erasing one-goal deficits in the second half.

Minnesota jumped to an early advantage on goals from Adrien Hunou and Robin Lod. Sebastian Lletget halved the deficit in first-half stoppage time and the Galaxy nearly pulled even moments later, but keeper Tyler Miller made a spectacular right-footed save on Hernández to preserve Minnesota’s lead.

Hernández didn’t miss on his next chance, one-timing a Julian Araujo pass from just inside the penalty area in the 51st minute. Araujo gave that one back 11 minutes later, raising his right leg to clear a Hunou cross from a difficult angle at the end line and redirecting it by Bond and into the net.

Minutes after the game, the Galaxy announced Araujo had been voted the team’s defender of the year.

Hernández briefly bailed his teammate out, scoring his 17th goal of the season in 75th minute. And when Minnesota’s Franco Fragapane curled his 89th-minute penalty shot wide of the left post, it looked as if that would be enough to get the Galaxy to the postseason. At about the same time, however, Rusnak scored Kansas City, making Fragapane’s miss — and the Galaxy’s draw — irrelevant.

LAFC (12-13-9) never recovered from its poor first half in Colorado, falling behind on first-half goals from Jonathan Lewis and Collen Warner.

Lewis opened the scoring at the end of a breakaway, redirecting a Kellyn Acosta cross in from close range in the 18th minute. With LAFC chasing the game, coach Bob Bradley sent in former MVP Carlos Vela in the 31st minute for his first first-half minutes since mid-August. But it was the Rapids who got the next goal two minutes later.

LAFC keeper Jamal Blackman tied to punch a corner kick out of danger but the ball bounced straight to Warner, whose return shot struck Blackman again, then deflected into the net.

The two sides exchanged goals early in the second half with Lewis knocking in a Diego Rubio feed from the center of the box for his second goal in the 53rd minute and Cristian Arango answering for LAFC two minutes later.

But that was as close as LAFC got with Cole Bassett and Dominique Badji sandwiching goals around one from LAFC’s Brian Rodríguez to account for the final score.

The result left LAFC with a losing record for the first time in franchise history and left the team short of the postseason for the first time as well.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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