After a goalless first half, the Red Bulls took a 68th-minute lead at the StubHub Center through Argentine attacker Gonzalo Veron, before homegrown midfielder Sean Davis made it 2-0 six minutes later to put the visitors on course for just their second road win in the league this season.
The Galaxy reduced the deficit 10 minutes before injury-time, however, when Giovani dos Santos and Steven Gerrard combined to set up substitute Mike Magee for a simple finish.
Gerrard then helped complete the comeback in the 89th-minute, whipping a cross into the left-hand side of the box that fell for his former England teammate Cole to smash past Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.
“With the deflection that came off the Red Bull player, I was just there to take the shot and luckily it went in,” Cole told LAGalaxy.com after the match. “It’s always nice to score. I prefer to clear them off the line, but luckily I got to do both in one game.
“Of course, on a personal level, it’s nice to score, but it’s more important to come out of the game with a point.”
Head coach Bruce Arena added on Cole’s late-game heroics: “Big goal. Ashley played pretty well and it’s his second game back since he was out with an injury, so I think he’s just going to get better.
“I thought in the second half we started pretty well and conceded the first goal and then obviously the second one looked like it did spell doom for us, but a tremendous effort by our guys. And I thought the players that came into the game, [Baggio] Husidic, [Mike] Magee and [Emmanuel] Boateng did a great job to get us back into the game.”
Cole has played 17 times for the Galaxy since joining the club in January on a free transfer following a disappointing 18-month spell with Roma, where he had been frozen out of the first-team picture since March 2015.
The 35-year-old left-back’s signing caused a fair amount of controversy due to the disparaging remarks he made about MLS after linking up with Roma in the summer of 2014, but he has since answered questions about his commitment with some impressive performances.
Despite picking up two red cards and a few injuries, the former Arsenal and Chelsea star has been easily one of the league's best full-backs and is a key reason why the Galaxy currently have the second-best defensive record in MLS with just 22 goals conceded in 22 matches.