Zlatan leads Galaxy to 4-3 comeback victory over Orlando City

July 29, 2018

By Brian Kowalski

Carson, Calif. -- Zlatan Ibrahimovic put on a one-man show Sunday evening before the 24,941 fans in attendance at the StubHub Center, as the charismatic forward scored three second-half goals to rally the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 4-3 win over Orlando City SC.  The hat trick was Ibrahimovic's first in MLS.

Coming into the game, LA sat in fifth place in the Western Conference, while Orlando was in ninth place in the East.

Standings aside, it was Orlando City that struck first, as Sasha Kljestan took control of the ball for most of the way up the pitch before passing to Cristian Higuita, who had a clear shot from within 10 yards.  Higuita’s shot went under the approaching David Bingham and gave Orlando the 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.

The Galaxy kept fighting and with the game going back-and-forth for the rest of the first half, LA got its redemption in the 40th minute, as Ibrahimovic outmuscled his defender in the 18-yard box and headed the ball to the feet of Giovani dos Santos, who then dribbled around his defenders and leveled the game with a shot to the corner of the goal.

The celebration didn't last long, as Orlando City closed the half with another score when a cross into the box turned into an own-goal off the feet of Michael Ciani.

Facing a 2-1 deficit, the Galaxy quickly responded.  In the 47th minute, dos Santos patiently waited and then sent a cross into Zlatan for a towering header that beat goalkeeper Earl Edwards and tied the game.

Minutes later, dos Santos had a chance to score again, but his shot somehow found a way to not go into goal and hit the crossbar.

Orlando City SC would make LA pay for that missed opportunity, as the game turned into a fast-paced, high-scoring contest.  In the 55th minute, Mohammed El-Monir crossed to Dom Dwyer and his header easily found the back of the net for a 3-2 Orlando lead.  The score was another blunder by the Galaxy’s defense following the earlier own-goal.

The game seemed to be heading in the wrong direction for LA, but the Galaxy had an X factor.  LA, with a history of high profile signings, including David Beckham, Robbie Keane, and Giovani dos Santos, relied on their latest international superstar.  In the 67th minute, Zlatan took over the match.  Ola Kamara crossed the ball into the box, finding Ibrahimovic with the pass.  Zlatan then tied the game with a header that went into the bottom left corner of goal to make it 3-3.

Zlatan wasn’t finished with his scoring onslaught.  Minutes later, in the 71st, Ibrahimovic found the ball at his feet in the box and sent a powerful right-footed shot into the bottom left corner again for a 4-3 Galaxy lead.

The Galaxy defense almost allowed another easy goal for Orlando from a corner-kick in the 88th minute that was headed just above goal, causing goalkeeper David Bingham to scream at his defense for leaving the player open.

The action-packed night ended in stoppage time with a 4-3 Galaxy win, and a much-needed three points in the competitive Western conference.

The Galaxy are now unbeaten in their last nine MLS contests, going 5-0-4 in those games.  Next, the Galaxy hit the road to face Colorado Rapids on Saturday, August 4th.

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