Galaxy clinch 1st playoff spot since 2016

SANDY, Utah (AP) — Cristian Pavón and Zlatan Ibrahimovic each scored a second-half goal and Los Angeles edged Real Salt Lake 2-1 on Wednesday night for the Galaxy’s first playoff berth since 2016.

Ibrahimovic has scored 28 goals this season, two behind Carlos Vela’s league-leading 30 for LAFC.

Pavon struck first for Los Angeles (16-13-3) in the 50th minute with a shot 17 yards out from the left side of the penalty box, assisted by Ibrahimovic. Los Angeles went ahead 2-0 in the 80th on Ibrahimovic’s shot 13 yards out from the center of the box, assisted by Pavon.

Nedum Onuoha scored for Real Salt Lake (14-13-5) in the 89th with a header 11 yards away from the center of the box, assisted by Sebastian Saucedo.

Real Salt Lake outshot the Galaxy 18 to 11, with five shots on goal to three for Los Angeles.

Los Angeles drew four corner kicks, committed nine fouls and was given two yellow cards. Real Salt Lake drew seven corner kicks, committed seven fouls and was given one yellow card.

Both teams next play Sunday. Real Salt Lake hosts Houston, and Los Angeles hosts Vancouver.