Losing away against the LA Galaxy is no real shame. The Galaxy are undefeated at Dignity Health Sports Park this season, including wins in seven of their last eight games.

Now that Minnesota United has lost six consecutive games, though, any loss feels like an extension of a crisis — especially after conceding a last-minute winner.

Gabriel Pec scored twice for the Galaxy — once in the first half, once in the 90th minute — and Minnesota's woes deepened with a 2-1 loss in Carson, Calif.

"I can't pretend it's anything other than gutting for the staff and the players," manager Eric Ramsay said.

The Loons, who were in the top five in MLS a month ago, have dropped all the way out of the Western Conference playoff spots.

MLS standings

Pec's winner came after a highlight-reel assist from Maurico Cuevas, who popped the ball over a Loons defender's head, picked it up on the other side and crossed for a tap-in for Pec.

It erased Minnesota's first feel-good moment in weeks, as center forward Teemu Pukki returned to the field for Minnesota for the first time since a June 1 victory and returned to the scoresheet for the first time since March 9.

Pukki played the final half-hour as a substitute, and the Galaxy's defense seemed to have forgotten the Finn's reputation as one of soccer's finest finishers. Few goals will look simpler than Pukki's. The center forward picked the ball up in the middle of the field and drove straight at LA's defense, which kept backing off and giving the striker space. So Pukki, from the edge of the penalty area, simply placed a left-footed shot inside the left-hand post.

"It was a really pleasing moment," Ramsay said. "If there's a big silver lining tonight, it's that one, because that's what we've been crying out for over the course of the last month."

BOXSCORE: LA Galaxy 2, Minnesota United 1

The Galaxy got on the board first, in the 25th minute, thanks to an adjustment from coach Greg Vanney. Minnesota left back Joseph Rosales was keeping close tabs on LA right winger Pec and having some success. To combat this, Los Angeles pushed Pec inside to attack the Minnesota center backs and let right back Miki Yamane run outside Rosales.

LA midfield wizard Rigui Puig found Yamane with a long cross-field ball, Pec got a step on Loons center back Devin Padelford, and the adjustment led to an easy goal for Pec, from a Yamane cross.

"We were really disappointed with the first goal because it comes after a half an hour of them not having a shot," Ramsay said. "Joe [Rosales] switches off on defending the ball that Puig plays over the top. Which is a really disappointing one to concede, because it's pretty textbook of them, I suppose."

Just a few minutes later, Minnesota appeared to have tied the score after a counter-attack ended with Alejandro Bran putting the ball in the net. On replay, though, Loons forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane had a foot offside in the build-up, and referee Pierre-Luc Lauziere waved off the score after a look at the video monitor.

Minnesota almost got the winner five minutes from the end, with Franco Fragapane strolling in on the goal, but Galaxy keeper John McCarthy got down to make one final save with his left glove.

It seemed like an opportunity for three points dropped — and a few minutes later, it seemed like a waste of the only chance the Loons had to finally make something go their way.

The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.