Galaxy wraps regular season, will host Nashville SC in first round of playoffs

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Raheem Edwards, top, falls onto Houston Dynamo forward Carlos Darwin Quintero, bottom as they battle for control of the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig, left, watches the ball as Houston Dynamo midfielder Adalberto Carrasquilla, right, slide tackles it away during the first half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Houston Dynamo forward Sebastián Ferreira celebrates his goal against the Los Angeles Galaxy during the first half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Houston Dynamo forward Sebastián Ferreira, middle, raises his fist as he celebrates in the stands after his goal against the Los Angeles Galaxy during the first half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Houston Dynamo forward Carlos Darwin Quintero tries to advance the ball as Los Angeles Galaxy defender Julian Araujo, right, pulls him back during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Raheem Edwards, left, slide tackles in an attempt to get control of the ball from Houston Dynamo forward Sebastián Ferreira (9) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Houston Dynamo forward Corey Baird kicks a backward pass through Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Gaston Brugman, right, during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark, left, makes a save as Los Angeles Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez, right, looks on during the first half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Houston Dynamo midfielder Matias Vera, right, jumps over as Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Marco Delgado, right, kicks the ball away during the first half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Dejan Joveljic celebrates his goal against the Houston Dynamo during the second half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Dejan Joveljic, bottom, kicks away the ball as he falls into Houston Dynamo defender Tim Parker, left, during the second half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Los Angeles Galaxy defender Sega Coulibaly, left, jumps around Houston Dynamo midfielder Fafa Picault (10) as they chase the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Dejan Joveljic, center, is surrounded by teammates as they celebrate the score by Joveljic during the second half of an MLS soccer match against the Houston Dynamo Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Dejan Joveljic, middle, gets past Houston Dynamo defender Ethan Bartlow, left, to get the ball past goalkeeper Steve Clark, right, to score during the second half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney motions to his players during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Houston Dynamo Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Houston Dynamo interim head coach Kenny Bundy watches play from the sidelines during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Los Angeles Galaxy Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Houston Dynamo defender Ethan Bartlow, left, attempts to block the advance by Los Angeles Galaxy forward Kevin Cabral, right, during the second half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Marco Delgado, left, blocks out Houston Dynamo defender Tim Parker, right, during the second half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

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The start to Sunday’s regular-season finale for the Galaxy didn’t have a great start.

The rest of the game, however, went the Galaxy’s way to the tune of a 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo at PNC Stadium.

With the win, the Galaxy finishes the regular season on 50 points and in fourth place in the Western Conference, clinching a home game for the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Galaxy (14-12-8) will host No. 5 Nashville SC Saturday at noon. The Galaxy won the first meeting 1-0 on an 86th minute goal by Dejan Joveljic. The second meeting, Sept. 10, ended in a 1-1 draw.

The winner will face top-seeded LAFC, likely on Oct. 20.

“It’s about momentum and it’s about finding rhythm together,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “As our midfield got healthy and we started to implement some new players, like Gaston (Brugman) and Riqui (Puig), sometimes that’s not just the turn key …it took us a little time to establish the rhythm and the connection, the timing, the relationships and things like that, but as we’ve got more opportunities, the guys have certainly grown together.”

The Galaxy ended the regular season going 5-1-5 in the last 11 games.

The Dynamo opened the scoring in the eight minute.

Needing a win, to secure at least fourth place and a first-round home game, the Galaxy responded with goals in the 31st (Puig) and 32nd (Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez) to take a 2-1 lead.

After the first goal was scored by Houston, combined with some other early results around the league, the Galaxy had slipped to sixth place. However, the two goals moved them back up the standings.

In the 69th minute, Joveljic put the game away with a deft touch and finish for a 3-1 lead. The goal was his 11th in a bit under 1,000 minutes played this season. He signified his goal with a celebration of him looking at his watch. He said it was to say that playoff time is here.

“That’s a very good statistic,” he said of his goals and limited minutes played this season. “To be honest, I thought I was going to have more playing time, but I wanted to score double numbers (digits).

“I think that we know each other better. The guys that in the last few months, they are amazing and have helped us a lot and we are a much stronger team than last year.”