Heading into the Battle of Los Angeles between LAFC and LA Galaxy, there was a great deal of tension in the air: and nearly all of it was caused by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The controversial Swede just lives for causing a bit of stir for better or worse, and as we look ahead to his immediate future, it honestly feels like he’s going to be doing the same thing until the day he hangs up his boots for good.
One way or another it’s going to be fascinating to see what happens throughout the remainder of his career, but in this instance, as reported by BBC and MLS Soccer, he was able to prove that he’s still got it as the veteran scored a perfect hat-trick to give LA Galaxy all three points against their city rivals.
“When you play against a rival like that, in a full stadium, I get pumped. I get adrenaline. This is considered to be the biggest game in the league and I show up in the biggest games,” said the Swede after the match.
Step up and be counted
“I am in play-off mode every day.”
“I have a lot of respect for Vela. But you did one mistake, you compare him with me. That was your biggest mistake.”
Zlatan’s argument was that Vela is playing in Major League Soccer in the prime of his career, whereas he was succeeding and thriving in Europe during the prime of his. It seemed like it was a little bit unprovoked and unnecessary for him to be so overconfident, but such is the nature of the beautiful game.
The derby swung back and forth on multiple occasions as LAFC attempted to prove why they deserve to be sitting at the top of the Western Conference. In the end, though, all they really did was prove once and for all that the race to hold the MLS Cup high at the end of the season is still well and truly on.
It’d be on until the play-offs came to an end anyway, but at this rate, Galaxy could well be in with a chance of winning the regular season trophy, too. That’s how much of an impact this game could have on proceedings.
The main man
As for Zlatan, what is there to be said that hasn’t already been repeated in the media time and time again? The guy just knows how to show up when the lights are on bright which is, is more ways than one, the biggest commodity that you could have when signing a player like him.
Vela, as proved by this two goals in this game, is still probably going to be regarded as one of the two best forwards in Major League Soccer today. It just so happens that, the only other forward that can compete with him in the West, is located on the other side of the city.
How will this impact the overall standings and the momentum of the title race moving forward? We’ll have to wait and see.