Monday, September 16, 2019

With a playoff place in jeopardy, the Swede's three goals paced a statement win

Heading into Sunday's match against Sporting KC, it was easy to question the legitimacy of the LA Galaxy. For the second straight season, the Galaxy were flirting with disaster, having wasted Zlatan Ibrahimovic's first MLS campaign by bungling the playoffs in the final week of the season.

A run of 22 points from 21 matches since May this season was starting to look more like a fact than an aberration. It was fair to question whether the Galaxy were any good at all, despite their star-studded cast and lofty expectations.

However, any questions regarding the LA Galaxy were answered in emphatic fashion on Sunday evening.

Ibrahimovic netted three of the Galaxy's seven goals on Sunday night as they crushed Sporting KC 7-2 at StubHub Center to send a message to all of their doubters. After missing the post-season last year and limping lethargically through the summer months, the Galaxy look like they'll be just fine as crunch time looms.

But it didn't start that way. The Galaxy actually trailed within 25 minutes as Felipe Guttierez scored for the visiting side. It was Guttierez who scored again too in the 86th minute for the game's ninth and final goal. Everything that happened in between, though, was nothing short of a statement.

Ibrahimovic's first came from the spot, and it came even after a moment of weakness that proved little more than a blip. The legendary striker's first attempt was saved by Tim Melia, but the Swede had little trouble in firing it right back into the center of the goal to tie the score at one apiece.

It stayed that way until half time when the onslaught truly began. Joe Corona scored three minutes into the second half, and three minutes after that it was Zlatan again. That goal, Ibrahimovic's 25th of the season, saw him seal the Galaxy's single-season record with 26 while surpassing MLS legend Carlos Ruiz along the way.

Rising Mexican star Uriel Antuna was next, scoring in the 69th in what would be the Galaxy's longest goal drought of the second half: a whole eighteen minutes. Sebastian lletget scored two goals within two minutes soon after before Ibrahimovic jumped right back into the Golden Boot race with his third of the evening, putting him just two goals behind current leader, and newly-discovered rival, Carlos Vela.


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