The LA Galaxy secured a 2-1 win Wednesday night at Real Salt Lake, vaulting above the Seattle Sounders and into third place in the Western Conference standings.
The result, sparked by Cristian Pavon and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, clinched LA’s spot in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs – marking the club’s first postseason trip since 2016. Conversely, RSL will have to wait to secure a playoff spot.
After a tepid first half, the Galaxy sparked to life in the 50th minute when Pavon collected a flicked-on header from Ibrahimovic. The Argentine winger squared up RSL center back Nedum Onuoha and slotted a left-footed shot past Nick Rimando for the 1-0 lead.
Pavon then returned the favor in the 80th minute, as he stole the ball from Justen Glad near the corner, dribbled towards goal and squared back for Ibrahimovic. With a one-touch finish to the far-side netting, the Designated Player made it 2-0.
RSL didn’t wilt away, though, as they clawed one back in the 89th minute via Onuoha. He provided an opportunistic goal, flicking home a header after an Everton Luiz long-range shot bounced high off the grass. The whole sequence followed a cleared corner kick, with Onuoha held on by David Romney.
Aside from the goals, it was an evening of missed chances for both clubs. RSL striker Sam Johnson hit both posts off a corner kick in the 37th minute, while LA winger Uriel Antuna saw his 48th-minute shot cleared off the line by Danny Toia.