Carlos Vela’s long-range blast in the 64th minute gave Los Angeles FC a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United on Tuesday, LAFC again unable to clinch Major League Soccer’s Western Conference top seed.
A victory in St. Paul, Minnesota, would have secured the West’s top seed in the MLS Cup playoffs for LAFC, who will still secure it if Austin FC lose or draw against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.
LAFC clinched a playoff spot three weeks ago, but their 2-1 defeat to Dallas last weekend was their fourth in five matches.
After holding a significant lead in the race for the Supporters’ Shield they are now two points behind Philadelphia in the hunt for the award for the club that tops the regular-season standings.
Vela’s 64th minute strike secured a crucial point for the Angelenos, who saw prized summer acquisition Gareth Bale start and play for 62 minutes.
Vela’s left-footed shot from almost 25 yards out sailed into the top of the net, out of the reach of Loons goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair.
Brent Kallman had put Minnesota up 1-0 in the 45th minute, heading a ball off a corner kick into the top right corner of the net.
As Kallman rose to meet the ball he appeared to push off on Christian Arango, but LAFC’s pleas to have the goal reviewed were futile.
Minnesota hadn’t scored in their prior three matches.
The hosts nearly got a game-winner in stoppage time after Joseph Rosales’s long ball bounced high over Maxime Crepeau as the LAFC keeper rushed forward.
Kellyn Acosta averted the threat, safely clearing the ball as Minnesota’s Emanuel Reynoso closed in to attempt a shot.
In the final minute of stoppage time, the Loons’ Jonathan Gonzalez fired a header wide.
Both teams missed scoring chances before Kallman struck.
Minnesota’s Luis Amarilla hit the right post in the 21st minute, while Reynoso put a close-range shot just wide right in the 39th minute.
Vela, meanwhile, fired high in the 33rd minute and Cristian Arango saw his close-range header slide left of the net in the 43rd.
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