Zlatan Ibrahimovic provided another moment of magic for the LA Galaxy, netting the third goal of his nascent MLS career to lift his new team to a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire in front of a sellout crowd at Toyota Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Galaxy had the ball in the back of the net twice in the opening minute of the game, but Ola Kamara was narrowly called offside on both occasions. Still, the visitors enjoyed a fairly comfortable first half, limiting the Fire to just one shot on goal in the opening frame before Ibrahimovic struck on the stroke of halftime. Ashley Cole, who assisted the Swede's game-winning goal against LAFC two weeks ago, was once again the provider when he swung in a cross that Ibrahimovic rose up to nod back across goal and into the net.
The Fire started to come into the game more around the hour mark, forcing Galaxy 'keeper David Bingham into several saves, including a skipping shot from distance by Aleksandar Katai that Bingham did well to push wide of the net. After that flurry, though, the Galaxy were able to see things out comfortably, saved for a well-timed intervention by Daniel Steres with Katai in on goal in the dying minutes.
- 45+1' – LA – Zlatan Ibrahimovic Watch
- THE BIG PICTURE: Things are looking increasingly bad for the Fire, who have now played four of their first five games of the year at home and won just once. Their next three? New York Red Bulls away, Toronto away, Atlanta at home. The Fire are in a hole and it could get deeper very quickly. The Galaxy, on the other hand, are up to second place in the Western Conference. They can prove they belong there with their next two games against two the same opponents the Fire will face: New York and Atlanta.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The wet and windy conditions at Toyota Park gummed things up a little bit, but it was not enough to stop Zlatan from breezing past former teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger – with whom he shared a chummy pregame interview – to net the game's only goal. Even on seemingly ordinary headers in the first half, the big Swede sure has a sense for the dramatic.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Despite watching Ibrahimovic head in the winner – and let's remember he started on the backline as a stopgap more than anything before moving to midfield – Schweinsteiger had a quality outing. Can they go out and get him a little more help?
Bastian #Schweinsteiger was the top performer again for #cf97 in #CHIvLA, but he can't do everything himself while playing CB and CM. 100 touches, 72/78 passes, 2 key passes, 5/7 long balls, 1/2 dribbles, 2 fouls won, 6/10 duels won, 7 clearances, 2 interceptions, 7 recoveries. pic.twitter.com/TMSMQdin8Z— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) April 14, 2018