Forwards Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell scored goals as Sporting Kansas City spoiled Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s second appearance for the Los Angeles Galaxy with a 2-0 victory on Sunday night at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Tim Melia made a career-high 10 saves as Sporting Kansas City (4-1-1) remained unbeaten over its past seven matchups with the Galaxy. The Sunday victory was the fourth in that stretch to go with three draws.
Ibrahimovic entered in the 62nd minute with the Galaxy trailing 2-0. He fired five shots, with Melia saving three of his booming blasts. Ibrahimovic was wide on a left-footed shot and a header.
The anticipation over the 36-year-old Swedish star’s second game was prompted by his stellar debut last week when he scored two goals in 19 minutes of action, a long-distance volley and then the game-winner on a header in stoppage time as the Galaxy rallied to a 4-3 win over Los Angeles FC.
The Galaxy (2-2-1) took 22 shots on Sunday, including three that caromed off the post. Sporting Kansas City had 13 shots.
SKC midfielder Felipe Gutierrez missed the game with a hip injury. Gutierrez was MLS Player of the Month for March after scoring five goals.
The game was scoreless until the 56th minute when Russell sent a corner kick into the box. LA was unable to clear, and Salloi sent a shot that bounced off the hand of Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham on its way into the net.
Just five minutes later, Sporting K.C. took a 2-0 lead as Russell split defenders Daniel Steres and Ashley Cole, sidestepped defender Jorgen Skjelvik and tapped the ball past Bingham.
“It just something I’ve loved to do since I was a kid,” Russell said in a postmatch interview on Fox Sports 1. “I like to take players on. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, and I’m grateful tonight it did.”
After Ibrahimovic entered, LA midfielder Romain Alessandrini had two prime opportunities, hitting the post in the 65th minute and having his close range blast in the 66th stopped by Melia. However, the Galaxy couldn’t get one past Melia, who recorded his second shutout of the season and 28th of his career.
In the first half, Galaxy midfielder Chris Pontius had a huge chance in the 35th minute, but his header caromed off the right post.
Melia made a big-time save in the 43rd minute when Cole sent in a left-footed shot. The goalie barely got his fingers on it to deflect it and prompt it to bounce off the far post.
Three minutes into the second half, Ibrahimovic got off the bench to warm up, and the crowd began buzzing. However, by the time he entered, the Galaxy were down two goals and couldn’t recover.
—Field Level Media