Zlatan Ibrahimovic guides LA Galaxy past Orlando City with first Major League hat-trick
Swede strikes three times in California win over Orlando that sends Galaxy to third in Western conference
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his first MLS hat trick during a 24-minute stretch of the second half, lifting the LA Galaxy to a 4-3, come-from-behind victory over Orlando City on Sunday night in Carson, California.
Ibrahimovic now has 15 goals over 17 appearances for the Galaxy, scoring multiple goals five times since joining the club in late March.
Giovani dos Santos also scored after an assist from Ibrahimovic and added an assist of his own for LA who moved up to third in the MLS table. The Galaxy are now unbeaten in their last nine matches.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic notches his 1st MLS hat trick, and his first since Feb 26, 2017 when Manchester United defeated St. Etienne 3-0 in a Round of 32 Europa League game.
It is the 20th hat trick in @LAGalaxy history, the most of any MLS franchise pic.twitter.com/TE31hLlhMA
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 30, 2018
Cristian Higuita and Dom Dwyer scored for Orlando City, who also benefited from an own goal. The Lions held the lead on three separate occasions.
Orlando City have lost three straight matches and have just one win in their last 13 matches. The Lions have conceded four or more goals in four separate matches during that stretch.
Ibrahimovic finished with an impressive seven shots on goal, three more than in any of his previous MLS appearances.
He scored his first goal of the night just two minutes into the second half, when he met dos Santos’ early cross from the left with a thundering header that beat goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jnr to the top right corner, levelling the game at 2-2.
Dwyer gave Orlando the lead back seven minutes later when he headed in Mohamed El-Munir’s cross from the left, but Ibrahimovic levelled the score again in the 67th minute.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 30, 2018
This time, Ibrahimovic’s header freed teammate Ola Kamara down the right. Kamara returned the favour with a perfect cross, and Ibrahimovic sent a diving header beyond Edwards to make it 3-3.
The Swedish superstar then put LA ahead for the first time all evening in the 71st minute, reaching a poor defensive clearance and smashing a half volley with his second touch inside the left post.
Higuita gave Orlando the lead in the 18th minute, finishing between goalkeeper David Bingham and the near post after playing some exceptional combinations with Sacha Kljestan to work free.
The Galaxy levelled through dos Santos 21 minutes later, when he took Ibrahimovic’s lay-off and drove a low finish inside the left post.
Orlando regained the lead a minute before half-time when Kljestan’s cross deflected off Galaxy defender Michael Ciani and across the goal line to make it 2-1.