Even in the land of movie stars and storybook endings, who could've scripted this?
Less than 48 hours after landing at LAX, Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced his MLS arrival in astounding fashion, striking a stunning 77th-minute equalizer before hitting a match-winning header in stoppage time as an encore.
And when the dust settled on one of the biggest matches in MLS regular-season history, the LA Galaxy had come from three goals down for a stunning 4-3 victory over LAFC in the inaugural edition of a fixture fans have dubbed "El Trafico."
The Swedish superstar came on in the 71st minute with the Galaxy trailing 3-1 after an outstanding first 50 minutes from the visitors at StubHub Center; Mexico international Carlos Vela notably logged his first MLS brace.
Chris Pontius' header two minutes after the substitution cut the deficit to one. Then the man known around the world simply as "Ibra" caught hold of a volley some 40-yards from goal and hammered it over helplessly stranded goalkeeper Tyler Miller.
They would regret those misses, as Ibrahimovic had a winner to spare in his endless bag of tricks, taking an aerial duel to thump home a thunderous header and providing the Galaxy a miracle victory on an afternoon no one will forget.
- 5' - LAFC - Carlos Vela Watch
- 26' - LAFC - Carlos Vela Watch
- 48' - LAFC - Daniel Steres (OG) Watch
- 61' - LA - Sebastian Lletget Watch
- 73' - LA - Chris Pontius Watch
- 77' - LA - Zlatan Ibrahimovic Watch
- 90+1' - LA - Zlatan Ibrahimovic Watch
- THE BIG PICTURE: On an historic day, the Galaxy became just the second team in MLS history to win after falling three goals behind. The Seattle Sounders previously defeated D.C. United 4-3 last season after falling behind 3-0.
What a massive learning experience for @LAFC up 3-0 in 60th. Interesting what this does to a new group of players.....could be a defining moment for this group at such an early time of the year. #MLS https://t.co/of76JTngps— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) March 31, 2018
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: If a picture paints a thousand words, just how many words are this video worth?
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Vela and Urena were both making strong cases with their earlier performances. That all changed with Ibrahimovic's entrance, a moment that might have changed the landscape of the league, let alone the rivalry or the match.