Not only did the Galaxy striker put in a full 90 minutes, he also put on a show.
With Talen Energy Stadium filled with rain-soaked fans eager to see the Swedish superstar, Ibrahimovic dealt with the nasty weather, scoring a goal, adding an assist and lifting the Galaxy to a 3-1 victory over the Union.
“It was bad conditions,” Ibrahimovic said. “I feel sorry for the fans … That’s part of the game — the weather we cannot control. But we were ready for it. Even if yesterday it was hot and today was windy and raining.
“Good players can handle any condition.”
Ibrahimovic has a whopping nine goals in his last six starts. His chemistry with Galaxy teammates grows by the game. Against the Union, Ibrahimovic played a perfect ball to set up Ola Kamara before teaming up with Romain Alessandrini and Jonathan dos Santos for the game-winner.
Afterwards, Ibrahimovic talked about the impact of Alessandrini and dos Santos, whose return from the World Cup has coincided with the Galaxy’s current three-game winning streak.
“[Jona] is one of the leaders on our team and has a lot of responsibility,” Ibrahimovic said. “He connects strikers with defenders and he does it good. We need him as much as we need everybody else. Now there’s more alternatives, more possibilities for the coach. We’ve just missed some injured players that are going to come back soon and we’ll be all ready.”
As many stars as the Galaxy put out on the field, opposing teams will key in on Ibrahimovic the most. On Saturday, the Union’s 19-year-old center backs Auston Trusty and Mark McKenzie were faced with that unenviable task of tracking Ibrahimovic and, perhaps expectedly, struggled to keep the Swede in check after halftime.
“He’s a world-class striker,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “He’s one of the best players our league’s ever seen and one of the best strikers our game’s ever had.”
Ibrahimovic said that, “Physically, [I'm] where I want to be,” and he's feeling good about the offense he’s been able to create since arriving in the U.S. earlier this year.
When asked a broader question about how he’s been able to change American soccer culture, he gave a very Zlatan answer.
“They’re lucky I didn’t come 10 years ago,” he said, “because I would be the president today.”