Former MLS MVP Carlos Ruiz scored his first goal of the season to give LA the early lead but Dave van den Bergh and Juan Pablo Angel scored for the Red Bulls to set up the exciting finish before 46,754 fans.
Donovan was trying to relay the ball to teammate Edson Buddle. The relay was high and the ball went over Buddle and sailed just inside the right post.
LA (6-6-5), which has won just once in eight Major League Soccer games against Eastern Conference teams, moved into a first-place tie with Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference.
New York (5-6-6), which got two assists from new midfielder Jorge Rojas, picked up one point to tie Kansas City at the bottom of the East.