The MLS debut of Zlatan Ibrahimovic was one for the history books.
The next quest is seeing if an encore is in store.
Ibrahimovic will be back on the pitch Sunday when he leads the LA Galaxy (2-1-1) into action against visiting Sporting Kansas City (3-1-1) at StubHub Center.
And even the 36-year-old Swedish star doesn’t see much room for topping that stellar first impression when he scored two goals in 19 minutes of action, including the game-winner on a header in stoppage time as the Galaxy rallied to a 4-3 win over Los Angeles FC.
“I try to do my best every game and I try to help teammates and win the game,” Ibrahimovic told reporters. “I don’t expect crazy things every game. I’ll try, but it’s not often it goes in, so please.”
Ibrahimovic’s arrival has sparked the Galaxy and his dazzling first performance created excitement all around the league.
Sporting KC defenseman Matt Besler knows it will be a challenge to deal with Ibrahimovic but he understands why there’s such a pronounced buzz.
“It’s great for the league,” Besler told reporters. “He’s obviously a really big personality, probably the biggest in our game. So I think it’s great that he’s going to be here for our league.
“He’s going to provide a lot of entertainment hopefully, both on and off the field. The game is still growing in our country, so it’s great to have players with the established pedigree that he has.”
Sporting KC is hoping that standout midfielder Felipe Gutierrez (hip) will be available against the Galaxy.
Gutierrez was named MLS Player of the Month for March after scoring five goals.
“He’s kind of day-to-day,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes told reporters. “I’m more of the ‘long-term’ guy than a ‘short-term’ guy. So, I’m not going to push a guy if I think that there’s a chance of another setback. I’d rather take extra time on the player.”
Sporting KC is unbeaten in the last six meetings with the Galaxy, winning three and playing to a draw in the other three.
—Field Level Media