Carlos Vela scored three times to set an MLS record for goals in a season as LAFC also set the record for points in a convincing 3-1 victory Sunday that eliminated the visiting Colorado Rapids from the playoffs.
The accomplished career of Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard came to an end in the defeat. Howard, 40, will head into retirement after 185 MLS games in goal, 121 with the U.S. national team and 399 in the English Premier League with Everton and Manchester United.
LAFC (21-4-9, 72 points) topped the MLS record point total of 71 set by the New York Red Bulls last season. The team also matched the MLS record of 85 goals in a season held by the 1998 Los Angeles Galaxy.
LAFC finished the regular season 13-1-3 at home.
LAFC already had clinched the MLS Supporters' Shield and a first-round bye in the playoffs. The second-year club will open postseason play in the Western Conference semifinals on Oct. 23 or 24 against the winner of the first-round matchup between Minnesota United FC and the Galaxy.
Vela's three goals gave him 34 on the season to put him in sole possession of the record, breaking a tie at 31 with Atlanta United's Josef Martinez, who reached the mark last season. His only other MLS hat trick came on March 30 at San Jose. It was his seventh multi-goal game of the season.
Vela's first goal came in the 28th minute on a blast from outside of the penalty area and over Howard's outstretched right arm. He added his second three minutes later on a bicycle kick from just in front of the goal off a pass from Tristan Blackmon.
The Rapids pulled to within a goal at 2-1 on a score from Kei Kamara, his 14th of the season, in the 40th minute, but Vela added his third in the 51st minute when he redirected a centering pass from Walker Zimmerman past Howard.
LAFC ultimately lost Zimmerman for the rest of the game after a violent head-to-head collision in the 66th minute with Kamara. Zimmerman, who landed face-first during the play, was scheduled to join the U.S. national team after the game.
The Rapids (12-16-6, 42 points) had a long-shot chance at earning a playoff spot, but needed a number of scenarios to unfold in order to make it happen, the most essential of which was to defeat LAFC.