CARSON, Calif. — Javier “Chicharito” Hernández scored in the 78th minute, but the LA Galaxy were eliminated from playoff contention in the Western Conference despite their 1-1 draw with the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday night.
Raúl Ruidíaz scored his 11th goal of the season in the third minute of injury time for the defending MLS Cup champion Sounders, who have won only once in their past six games while falling out of the top spot in the Western Conference.
The five-time MLS Cup champion Galaxy will miss the postseason for the third time in four years despite going unbeaten in the last two games under interim coach Dominic Kinnear.
Even a win over Seattle wouldn’t have saved the Galaxy’s hopes. Wins by the Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night eliminated LA, which needed one of the two to lose in order to stay in the race.
Chicharito converted his late strike off a good pass from Efraín Álvarez after a buildup with Cristian Pavón. Chicharito’s goal was just his second during the heralded Mexican forward’s injury-plagued first season in MLS.
Ruidíaz stole a point with the equalizer when Jordan Morris navigated among four Galaxy defenders and slipped a pass to Ruidíaz, whose shot went off Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham and in.
The Galaxy have looked better under Kinnear since Guillermo Barros Schelotto was fired, but it was too late to save a turbulent season that began with high hopes and the addition of Hernández as MLS’ highest-paid player.
The Galaxy were inconsistent until the losing streak that led to Barros Schelotto’s firing, with top players including Chicharito and Jonathan Dos Santos struggling through injuries in front of a leaky defense.
The Sounders put just three of their 17 shots on target against the Galaxy.
Ethan Dobbelaere, the Sounders’ 17-year-old homegrown midfielder, made his first start for Seattle and played into the 54th minute.