Gabriel Pec’s 90th-minute goal lifts Galaxy over Minnesota United

Gabriel Pec scored in the 90th minute to complete his first career MLS brace and lift the LA Galaxy to a 2-1 victory over visiting Minnesota United on Sunday night.

Pec’s eighth and ninth goals helped the Galaxy (12-4-7, 43 points) rebound after a 2-1 defeat to LAFC on Thursday night and move level with LAFC and Real Salt Lake on points atop the Western Conference.

Ruqui Puig provided the secondary assist on both goals to bring his team-leading total to 10.

Substitute Teemu Pukki pulled Minnesota (8-9-5, 29 points) level in the second half in his return from a knee injury and first appearance since June 1.

But the Loons still saw their skid extended to six matches, and now find themselves in 10th place in the Western Conference and outside the potential MLS Cup Playoff field.

Puig began the play by splaying a pass wide right to substitute Mauricio Cuevas, whose first touch actually provided the benefit of evading a Minnesota defender.

With his second, Cuevas drove the ball across the box for Pec to deliver a one-time finish from close range.

Pec’s opener in the 25th minute was a more expansive version of the same goal, with Puig spraying a ball from the center of the park to Miki Yamane down the right flank.

Yamane replied with a driven low cross into the path of Pec, who dove a low, first-touch finish past ‘keeper Alec Smir.

Minnesota thought it had leveled only six minutes later following a rapidly worked counterattack, but Bongi Hlongwane was ruled offside on the buildup following a video review.

Pukki pulled Minnesota level in the 73rd minute when he was allowed time and space after receiving a pass at the attacking end of the center circle.

The veteran dribbled down the middle all the way to the penalty arc before a defender closed, then curled a well-placed shot into the bottom left corner beyond John McCarthy’s dive.

Minnesota’s Franco Fragapane had an excellent late chance to put the visitors in front after an LA turnover, but McCarthy reacted excellently with a low diving save to his left in the 85th minute.

–Field Level Media