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Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace leads Galaxy to shocking comeback win over LAFC

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s introduction to Major League Soccer was as spectacular as could be imagined.

The LA Galaxy erased a three-goal deficit against crosstown rival LAFC, with Ibrahimovic’s 40-yard stunner and last-gasp header serving as the equalizing and game-winning goals in a 4-3 win.

Carlos Vela scored two goals for LAFC, who were undone by the introduction of Ibrahimovic in the second half.

In true Zlatan fashion, the Swedish star’s first MLS goal was a Goal of the Year candidate. With his side down, 3-2, Ibrahimovic smashed a first-time 40-yard volley into the back of the net.

With the match in stoppage time, Ibrahimovic added his second, firing a header on a cross from Ashley Cole to seal the win.

It took just five minutes for Vela to make his mark, and he did so in spectacular fashion. Following an LA Galaxy turnover, Vela received a pass from Steven Beitashour, took a touch inside and curled a shot towards the far post. The Mexican star’s effort left David Bingham helpless, providing a stunning start and an early LAFC lead.

Vela doubled that lead 21 minutes later, showing patience to evade Bingham and the Galaxy defense. Vela dribbled and waited for his chance before looping a shot off the crossbar and over the line to make it 2-0.

The third came just moments after halftime via a Daniel Steres own goal created by Marco Urena. Sebastian Lletget pulled one back to make it 3-1 in the 61st minute, prompting Ibrahimovic’s debut 10 minutes later.

Moments after Ibrahimovic’s introduction, the Galaxy continued to claw back through a Chris Pontius header. A cross from Ema Boateng found the head of the veteran winger, as the Galaxy pulled another goal back to make it 3-2.

Ibrahimovic’s equalizer came soon after, but the chances didn’t stop there. Urena smashed a shot off the post with just five minutes remaining in the best opportunity to break the 3-3 deadlock. It would be a missed opportunity as LAFC saw the match slip away on Ibrahimovic’s late header.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic.


As if it could have happened any other way. Ibrahimovic scored a stunning 40-yard goal, leveling the match and providing a moment to remember.


Laurent Ciman and the LAFC defense capitulated in the second half, blowing a three-goal lead in the second 45.


  1. As someone who was at the match, it wasn’t actually Ibra who changed it completely. It was the LAFC fans chanting “Ole” when passing around the back. They got cocky, and they turned it over shortly after the chants started, which led directly to the first goal by Lletget. You could feel the whole atmosphere change, and the moment shifted entirely to the Galaxy. Ibra was instrumental, but he wasn’t the catalyst.

  2. If it wasn’t for Ibra, everyone would have been talking about Vela’s first goal which was really a thing of beauty. Quite a game. If MLS has more like these, they’ll have to start enlarging their stadiums, as I have been urging them to do for the last 3 years or so.

    • On field like Drogba, we’ll see if he takes on the Drogba I only need to play enough to make the playoffs, after he takes a few domestic flights to the East Coast on United.

      • If he goes business class, it’s not too bad to the East Coast. But trips to Denver, SLC, KC, Minnesota and Columbus might challenge a 6’5″ frame for a 4-8 hour trip.

    • Agree, especially there. That game has two teams’ fans to fill a real stadium. Maybe the two LA-LA teams do like San Jose once a year and rent a large football stadium for the Galaxy game?
      Rose Bowl? Collusium?

  3. Next time someone tries to say that its ok most American kids quit soccer after age 12 because NFL and NBA players are too tall to play soccer.

    • Zlatan is only 6’5” and I say only because that would make him one of the shorter players in the NBA. If you’re 6’5” you better have guard skills. Also, do people actually say that?

  4. Zlatan was offside on the last goal. He was smart to leave the ball the first time, but he was offside on the final pass from Cole.

    His first goal was simply stunning!

    • A couple pix posted show that he was behind the ball, so it didn’t matter where he was in relation to the defender. But yeah, it was def close

  5. I remember this 5-4 NYRB/LAG game and watched because shows like PTI kept talking about David Beckham. I wasn’t an MLS fan at all (just a Revs fan tho, RIPIP). I have to imagine this game will be similar for a lot of fans, in terms of getting new fans into MLS. Great that this game was on FOX.

  6. That was absolutely epic entertainment. And utterly ridiculous.

    That, my friends, is why we watch.

    The Zlatan just served notice that this year is going to be a whole lot more interesting than first imagined. Love him or hate him, the dude delivers.

    Bob Bradley is going to be drinking heavily when he watches the replays of this one.

      • TIV, it was crazy. Even my wife wasn’t commenting about how excited I was. “But you HATE la Galaxy!”

        Yes, I do. Like Bizzy, I pull for DC (my local team) when it comes to MLS. I hate LA/NYC/Boston area teams in every sport.

        I didn’t have a dog in the fight. That was some “Must See TV”!

    “I know what I can bring, and I will bring it,” he said. “I’m not arrogant, I’m confident. The people that doesn’t understand, they say I’m arrogant. But the people that understand, they know I’m confident.”


    This dude is remarkable and unbelievable – wow, absolute class!!!!!


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