The same week he made it clear he believes he’s unquestionably the top player in Major League Soccer, the LA Galaxy star backed up his words
When Zlatan Ibrahimovic brashly proclaimed this week that he was without question the best player in Major League Soccer, even as Carlos Vela is in the midst of the best season in league history, it sounded like the kind of talk that even the superstar Swede would have some trouble backing up.
Well, leave it to Ibrahimovic to walk the walk after talking the talk. The LA Galaxy star scored a hat-trick, including a pair of stunning strikes, to give the Galaxy a resounding 3-2 LA derby triumph over Vela’s Los Angeles FC on Friday night.
It was the kind of display that suddenly made his proclamation that he was a “Ferrari among Fiats” in MLS a hard one to find fault with, even if the Ferrari doesn’t always hit the kind of top gear we saw on Friday. At his best, Ibrahimovic is still capable of destroying a defense, even one as reliable as LAFC’s usually is. LAFC hadn’t given up more than two goals to any opponent this season, boasting the stingiest defense in the league with 17 goals allowed in 20 matches.
Then came Zlatan to add another stunning chapter to the relatively young rivalry he had already put his stamp on with an unforgettable double in his MLS debut a year ago. Back then, when Ibrahimovic signaled his MLS arrival with a jaw-dropping goal from 40 yards away, it felt like the kind of performance he wouldn’t be able to top while with the Galaxy.
Consider it topped after Friday’s triple, which began with a highlight-reel caliber masterpiece, and ended with a long-range blast that sealed a victory that wasn’t just important because of the bragging rights in Los Angeles, but also because the Galaxy had been in a prolonged funk that had seen them lose seven of their past 11, including a pair of ugly defeats against the San Jose Earthquakes.
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