Tyler Boyd scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season just moments after opposing midfielder Gaston Gimenez was sent off in the first half as the LA Galaxy went on to a methodical 3-0 victory over the visiting Chicago Fire on Saturday night.
Riqui Puig scored his fourth goal later on for the Galaxy (6-10-7, 25 points), who began the night in second-to-last place in the Western Conference but won their third straight home match in league play.
Substitute Billy Sharp added a late goal from the penalty spot in his MLS debut, with the 37-year-old signing with the Galaxy earlier this month following a lengthy career in the English leagues.
Jonathan Bond made four saves to record his third clean sheet and the Galaxy's fifth of the season in their first MLS game following a month-long break to compete in the Leagues Cup.
The 10-man Fire (8-9-8, 32 points) suffered a second consecutive defeat but remained in possession of the ninth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after D.C. United lost earlier on Saturday.
Chicago was at a disadvantage after Gimenez received his second yellow card in the 27th minute for a two-footed challenge toward Douglas Costa.
Things quickly got worse for the Fire after Puig took the ensuing free kick, serving the ball from the right side into the box for a contested header. From there, the ball fell kindly for Boyd, who hit a side-winding half-volley that bounded past goalkeeper Chris Brady and inside the left post.
Despite being down a man, Chicago had promising spells early in the second half but failed to convert them into clear chances. Puig punished the Fire for that lack of incisiveness in the 72nd minute.
Costa was also involved, working the ball back and forth with Puig down the right flank. Eventually Costa played the ball square to Puig about 15 yards from the goal, where Puig turned with a quick first touch and struck a quick snapshot into the top right corner.
Sharp capped the scoring with a goal in the 90th minute.
--Field Level Media