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Zlatan Ibrahimovic shines in Galaxy’s win over Philadelphia Union

Before his two first-half goals secured the Galaxy’s fifth win of the season Saturday night, Zlatan Ibrahimovic predicted how the game would transpire.

“I expect to score every game, yes,” Ibrahimovic said Wednesday.

“The question is how many. … As long as you try, the goals will come.”

Ibrahimovic has scored in every game he’s played for the Galaxy (5-1-0) this season, and Saturday was no different. His performance helped the Galaxy cruise against the Philadelphia Union (3-3-1) at Dignity Health Sports Park.

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“We definitely started on fire,” midfielder Sebastian Lletget said. “And I think at home we’re starting that trend. ... We’re definitely finding our momentum.”

When Jorgen Skjelvik lofted a pass in front of the goal, Ibrahimovic leaped over Philadelphia’s Auston Trusty and drilled a sharp header to the right side of the net. The goal gave the Galaxy a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute of play.

The Galaxy had taken three shots before that goal. In the first 15 minutes, they took none, with only two corner kicks and a near-shot by Romain Alessandrini, who received a pass near the goal but fell before he could shoot.

But Ibrahimovic ignited the offense, as he has all season.

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Minutes after his first goal, Ibrahimovic extended the team’s lead to 2-0 on a penalty kick after being fouled while attempting to head another shot in front of the goal.

The Galaxy defense held the Union to four shots in the first half, ones goalkeeper David Bingham swiftly saved, while the Galaxy maintained possession for 61% of the half. It marked the team’s second straight shutout this season.

“Everyone is getting confident … to play his position,” coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said. “And we can see how the defense is getting better, game by game.”

The Union played aggressively early in the half, but the Galaxy controlled possession as the half wore on but could not score.

With Ibrahimovic’s early success, they faced little pressure for offensive production. But he still expressed frustration that the team could not keep scoring, seemingly complacent with a lead.

“This cannot happen … ,” Ibrahimovic said. “We cannot relax like this.”

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blake.richardson@latimes.com

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@rblakerich_


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