Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his third career MLS hat trick, Sebastian Lletget also struck for a brace and the LA Galaxy made a statement while moving above the Western Conference playoff line with a 7-2 demolition of Sporting Kansas City on Sunday night at Dignity Health Sports Park.
In the process, Ibrahimovic set a new Galaxy club record by moving to 26 goals on the season, surpassing the 24 goals Carlos Ruiz scored back in 2002. He's now within two of LAFC's Carlos Vela in pursuit of the 2019 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi.
Joe Corona and Uriel Antuna added goals for the Galaxy, who moved up three spots into fifth in the West standings after beginning the night outside the seven-team West playoff field. It was the third time LA have scored seven goals in an MLS match, and the first since 1998, after an eight-match stretch in which they had only earned five points to slide down the conference standings.
Felipe Gutierrez scored both goals for Kansas City, coming on either side of seven unanswered by the hosts. Coach Peter Vermes' squad is now six points beneath the playoff line with only four matches remaining.
- 24' - SKC - Felipe Gutierrez | WATCH
- 32' - LA - Zlatan Ibrahimovic | WATCH
- 48' - LA - Joe Corona | WATCH
- 51' - LA - Zlatan Ibrahimovic | WATCH
- 69' - LA - Uriel Antuna | WATCH
- 77' - LA - Sebastian Lletget | WATCH
- 79' - LA - Sebastian Lletget | WATCH
- 85' - LA - Zlatan Ibrahimovic | WATCH
- 86' - SKC - Felipe Gutierrez | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Sunday's result marks the seventh time in MLS history a team has posted seven or more goals in an MLS match, and the second time this season. The Galaxy are the only club to have done it multiple times, including when they set an MLS record for goals by one club in their 8-1 win over the Dallas Burn on June 4, 1998. By way of their 7-1 win over Montreal back in March, Sporting Kansas City become the first MLS club to score seven and concede seven in separate games in the same MLS season.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: In retrospect, it's easy to forget SKC actually held a lead and were playing well through most of the first half when they caught some poor luck, with the ball striking Matt Besler's arm inside the penalty area. Despite Besler not knowing much about his handball, Ted Unkel had no choice but to point from the spot. Ibrahimovic would go on to score on a rebound after Tim Melia saved his spot kick.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with a strong honorable mention to winger Cristian Pavon. For all the turbulence Ibra can cause, the big Swede continues to come up at the biggest moments for the Galaxy. And boy was this match a big moment. It's his second hat trick of the season, after also scoring all the Galaxy's goals in a 3-2 win over LAFC on July 19.