Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the anniversary of the goal heard around the world | Andrew Wiebe

EDITOR'S NOTE: The first El Trafico between the LA Galaxy and LAFC will be replayed in full on FS1 on Monday at 8 pm ET, with an encore presentation at 1 am ET. On Tuesday, to mark the two-year anniversary, the game will be shown as part of MLS Classics: Remix at 4 pm ET. Former LAFC player Benny Feilhaber, former Galaxy player Chris Pontius, Calen Carr and David Gass will provide alternative commentary via KISWE’s innovative live streaming technology. The game will also be shown on FOX Deportes at 9 pm ET..


The Zlatan game. Do I need to say more, or has your brain already cued up the stunning, swerving, half-volley golazo from the first-ever El Trafico?

Iconic moments don’t need much, if any, explanation and no moment in modern MLS history has the sort of instant-recognition, I-remember-exactly-where-I-was quality that Ibrahimovic’s equalizer (and stoppage-time winner) evokes.

I was at the MLS studios watching with a packed room of MLS nerds, my own little professional heaven, and I can still feel the surge of adrenaline that pulsed through my body when Daniel Steres's header upfield bounced up perfectly, Zlatan set his feet and everyone but LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller saw what was coming next. I’m not embarrassed to say I ran in circles then jumped on top of a couch and screamed expletives in front of my bosses.

It was Major League Soccer’s shot heard ‘round the world, the sort of can’t-miss moment this league craves as it claws its way up the global soccer hierarchy.

The highlight clip was like wildfire. It was everywhere. It couldn’t be slowed down, let alone stopped. We joked our social-media metrics had been met by one swing of the big Swede’s right foot. Everyone wanted to see the LA Galaxy's latest blockbuster signing, and in the process they witnessed the cornerstone of what’s become one of MLS’s most fascinating and dramatic rivalries.

Like many of you, I’ll be watching the March 2018 match back either Monday night on FS1 or Tuesday afternoon on MLS channels. I’ll spend most of the two hours trying to transport myself back to that time, reminiscing about the goal, yes, but also about the anticipation of what Zlatan, LAFC and this birth of El Trafico meant in our soccer world just two short years ago.

Here’s the column I wrote when Zlatan signed in case you want to walk down memory lane. There were doubters, as with everything in life. In many ways, you couldn’t really blame people who looked at a 36-year-old coming off a devastating knee injury and jumped straight to the “retirement league” narrative. They were wrong, but it was understandable.

Remember that when you watch. Remember that Zlatan’s ability to be a dominating force (or just play, period) was in question before this match. Remember that this was the first salvo in the battle for Los Angeles. Remember the tone it set for El Traficos to come. Remember that Carlos Vela was not yet Landon Donovan MLS MVP Carlos Vela yet.

Remember, because that’s all we have right now.

Series: