Riqui Puig and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez scored a goal one minute apart in the first half to lift the visiting LA Galaxy to a 3-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Sunday in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Puig scored in the 31st minute, Hernandez answered in the 32nd, while super-sub Dejan Joveljic sealed the victory with a score in the 69th minute.
Jonathan Bond made three saves for the fourth-seeded Galaxy (14-12-8, 50 points), who managed to secure at least one home playoff game by earning three victories and a tie over their last four regular-season games.
Sebastian Ferreira scored in the eighth minute and Steve Clark made four saves for the Dynamo (10-18-6, 36 points), who were unsuccessful in their bid for a season sweep of the Galaxy. Ferreira earned MLS Player of the Week honors after collecting a goal and two assists in Houston's 3-0 win over Los Angeles on May 22.
The Galaxy tied the game 1-1 after Samuel Grandsir's cross found an unmarked Puig, who took his time before depositing a shot past Clark for his third goal of the season. The midfielder from Spain was playing in just his 10th MLS game, with his late-season addition helping to change L.A.'s fortunes.
The Galaxy wasted little time taking the lead after Gaston Brugman's lead pass found Hernandez, who had gained a step on Houston defender Adam Lundqvist. Hernandez unleashed a shot past Clark for his club-best 18th goal of the season and fourth in his last four games.
Bond preserved the slim advantage in the 41st minute by making point-blank saves on both Ferreira and Griffin Dorsey.
Joveljic provided insurance by tucking the ball just inside the left post in the 69th minute for his 11th goal of the season and first since Aug. 19.
Ferreira headed home Corey Bard's cross to open the scoring in the eighth minute of the contest. Ferreira's goal was his team-leading 13th of the season.
Los Angeles nearly answered in the 22nd minute, however Hernandez's bid to convert Brugman's through ball caromed off of the outside of the left post.