Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t play in the World Cup, so he made sure to give the fans something to remember over the coming break.
On a night in which the promotional giveaway for the Galaxy was a set of postcards commemorating the 15th anniversary of StubHub Center, Ibrahimovic gave them something to write home about.
He scored two goals on headers in the second half to lead the Galaxy to a 3-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
The victory allowed the Galaxy to go into the three-week MLS break on a positive note as they are unbeaten in four of their last five games (3-1-1), their best streak since May 2017.
Ibrahimovic played his last game before he leaves for the World Cup, not to play but because of sponsorship opportunities. He took advantage of two chances in front of the net within a five-minute span to energize the 25,462 spectators, who offered up cheers as he left in the 86th minute with his arms raised.
David Bingham recorded his fifth shutout.
“This is what we want every game, to win 3-0,” Ibrahimovic said. “It’s important to keep the zero, for the confidence for the defensive side and let’s say the whole team [as well]. We scored three goals. We took [advantage] of the opportunity that we have. It was a good win. I’m happy, and you can see that everybody’s happy.”
Ibrahimovic headed in his first goal from the left side after goalie Nick Rimando tapped the ball up. Chris Pontius made the initial throw-in on the possession. Ibrahimovic made it 2-0 with a redirected header off Servando Carrasco’s pass as the ball rolled to the left corner of the goal.
Ola Kamara made it 3-0 when he converted Pontius’ pass on the left side.
Kamara returned from international duty with Norway, although he didn’t start in Norway’s game amid speculation of injury. He appeared to fight through two injuries Saturday and showed chemistry with Ibrahimovic.
“I always want to play together with him, on top,” Kamara said. “In a couple of games, when both of us have been playing striker, I think it’s looked a little bit like it has today, so I think it’s a good thing for this team.”
The Galaxy played without Romain Alessandrini because of a slight quad strain, coach Sigi Schmid said.
“He should be able to go next weekend,” Schmid said.
Schmid did not have an update on Sebastian Lletget, who left early in the second half because of an ankle injury, Schmid said.
His absence meant the insertion of Bradford Jamieson, who gave the Galaxy a spark in his first MLS game since October. Jamieson had been out since January because of a concussion before playing and scoring in the Galaxy’s U.S. Open Cup victory Wednesday.
“I had the opportunity to try to show some work that I’ve been putting in and offer something to these guys,” Jamieson said.