Diego Rossi scored his 15th goal of the campaign in the 78th minute to help visiting LAFC avoid their first consecutive losses of the season and salvage a 2-2 draw against Orlando City on Saturday night.
Adrien Perez also scored for LAFC (19-4-6, 63 points), who are now winless in their last three matches but still hold a comfortable lead in the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings.
The visitors were without MLS leading scorer Carlos Vela for a second straight game due to a hamstring injury, and because of additional injuries and international call-ups, only dressed 16 of the allowed 18 players for their gameday roster.
Nani scored his team-leading 10th goal of the season for Orlando (9-13-8, 35 points), which trailed after 12 minutes before taking the lead eight minutes later.
But the Lions remain four points beneath the seventh-place New England Revolution for the final playoff spot in the East with only four matches remaining to earn their first postseason berth. The Revs, who have five games remaining, visit Orlando next Saturday.
Two minutes after Santiago Patino hit the post on a potential third goal for Orlando, Rossi tied it at 2-2 on a slick give-and-go with Adama Diomande. After finding Diomande near the top of the penalty area, Rossi cut into the left side of the box, took Diomande’s incisive return pass and finished easily past Brian Rowe.
Orlando went behind early, but Nani evened the game exactly 10 seconds following the restart, when Cristian Higuita ambitious through-ball took a deflection and wrongfooted LAFC’s defense. Nani raced onto it and chipped a cool finish over charging goalkeeper Tyler Miller.
It was a combined team effort that then put the hosts into the lead. Nani combined with Oriol Rosell and Higuita on the right before Higuita played Ruan into the right side of the penalty area. Ruan drove a low service across the box and past Miller at the near post, and Benji Michel beat his defender to smash it into an open net from close range in the 20th minute.
Perez opened the scoring when he was first to reach Lee Nguyen‘s deflected cross, smashing in an effort that deflected off an Orlando defender on its way past Rowe.