Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his much-anticipated MLS debut for the Los Angeles Galaxy in Saturday afternoon’s “El Trafico” showdown against the expansion Los Angeles Football Club and didn’t disappoint.
Ibrahimovic, who didn’t enter the game until 71st minute, scored two goals, including the game-winner with a header in stoppage time, to help the Galaxy rally from a three-goal deficit and pull out a 4-3 victory before a sellout crowd at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
The 36-year-old Swedish star headed in a crossing pass from Ashley Cole from the left side of the goal in the 91st minute for the game-winner, just beating LAFC goalie Tyler Miller to the ball.
Sebastian Lletget and Chris Pontius also scored goals and David Bingham made four saves for the Galaxy (2-1-1).
Carlos Vela scored two goals, the visitors caught a break with an own goal, and Miller had two saves for LAFC (2-1-0).
The Galaxy cut the deficit to 3-1 in the 61st minute on Lletget’s first goal since July 2016 off a pass Servando Carrasco.
With many in the crowd chanting “We want Zlatan,” Ibrahimovic entered the game in the 71st minute in place of Lleget. Two minutes later, Pontius headed in a crossing pass from Emmanuel Boateng to make it 3-2, and Ibrahimovic tied it four minutes later when he smashed a volley from about 40 yards out over Miller, who got caught wandering to the top of the box.
Urena had a chance to put LAFC back ahead in the 86th minute but hit the post with a shot from the left side in the middle of the box.
Vela gave LAFC a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute when he curled a shot from near the right corner of the box into the top left corner.
The Galaxy controlled possession for 59 percent of the time in the first half but didn’t have a shot on goal. The team’s best chance at a goal came in the 21st minute when Miller barely tipped away a crossing pass from Rolf Feltscher for Ola Kamara who was open on the left side of the goal.
Vela scored again five minutes later when he took a pass from Diego Rossi on the left side of the goal. Bingham came off the line and dived at Vela’s foot but the Mexican international calmly spun away and then fired a shot that clanged in off the middle of the crossbar to make it 2-0.
Costa Rican international Marco Urena, who assisted on Vela’s second goal and dominated the midfield for most of the game, then made the key play to increase LAFC’s lead to 3-0 in the 48th minute. He streaked up the right side of the box and then sent a crossing pass intended for Vela that was deflected into the net by Galaxy defender Daniel Steres for an own goal.
—Field Level Media