Mauro Manotas scored a pair of second-half goals just six minutes apart Sunday as the visiting Houston Dynamo ended the LA Galaxy's hopes of earning an MLS playoff berth with a 3-2 victory on the final day of the regular season.
The Galaxy (13-12-9, 48 points) needed a victory to grab the sixth and final playoff spot in MLS' Western Conference and looked to be in good shape with a 2-0 lead at halftime. However, Los Angeles' defense, which has struggled for most of the season, could not hold the early lead.
The Los Angeles defeat allowed Real Salt Lake to grab the final Western Conference playoff spot. RSL (14-13-7, 49 points) were idle after finishing their regular-season schedule last weekend.
The Dynamo (10-16-8, 38 points) began their comeback in the 57th minute. Romell Quioto scored after working his way into the penalty area on a pair of moves and fired a shot in the bottom left corner of the goal to cut the Galaxy lead to 2-1.
Manotas got to work in the 73rd minute, tying the game 2-2 on a penalty kick after A.J. DeLaGarza was fouled by Romain Alessandrini in the box.
Manotas' go-ahead goal came in the 79th minute when Alberth Elis delivered a pass just in front of the goal. Manotas finished off a sliding goal past Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham.
A third goal for Manotas was waved off in the 88th minute because of an offside call. Manotas finished the season with a team-leading 19 goals.
The Galaxy took the early lead on a pair of goals from Ola Kamara. The first came in the 27th minute when Kamara scored on a header unmarked from just in front of the Dynamo goal after a pass from Alessandrini.
In the 30th minute, the Galaxy were on the attack again, led by Ashley Cole on the left side. Cole's left-footed centering pass found Kamara streaking through the middle of the Dynamo defense, and Kamara flicked a right-footed shot past Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis for his 14th goal of the season.
The Dynamo held off the Galaxy through a final 10 minutes of second-half stoppage time and a red card to Houston's Ronald Pena in the eighth extra minute. The Houston defense was able to neutralize Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who finished the season with 22 goals.
The Galaxy had made a late-season charge toward the playoffs by going unbeaten in their previous four matches before Sunday. The defeat to the Dynamo was Los Angeles' first since Sept. 15 at Toronto.
The Dynamo entered the finale having lost their previous three matches. Sunday's victory was their first since a win at San Jose on Sept. 29.