Zlatan hat trick gives LA Galaxy 4-3 win over Orlando City SC

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CARSON, CA - JULY 29: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of LA Galaxy scores a goal with a diving header to make it 3-3 during the MLS match between LA Galaxy and Orlando City at StubHub Center on July 29, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

CARSON, Calif. (July 29, 2018) – LA Galaxy got a massive win in an action-packed game against Orlando City SC on Sunday night. Despite going down three times, a Zlatan hat trick won the day for the home side.

Zlatan hat trick gives LA Galaxy 4-3 win over Orlando City SC

This game was pedal to the metal from the opening whistle. Cristian Higuita opened the scoring 18 minutes after some back and forth action that saw both teams get chances. Higuita had a great sequence combining with Sacha Kljestian to get him close to goal to beat goalkeeper David Bingham.

Giovani dos Santos tied the game in the 39th minute after Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed down a long ball in the box. The half would end 1-2 on a tough bounce for the Galaxy as Michael Ciani surrendered an own goal in the final minutes of the half.

Just two minutes into the second half, the Galaxy would tie it up. Dos Santos found Zlatan in the box for a thumping header in traffic to make it 2-2. In the 54th minute, Orlando answered with Dom Dwyer. Mohamed El-Munir got forward and did some good work on the wing to send a cross into the box. Dwyer headed the ball into the far corner and was relatively unchallenged.

The Galaxy would tie the match again, playing direct soccer in the 67th minute. Ibrahimovic headed the ball down a spring Ola Kamara. Kamara ran into the box, crossed to Ibrahimovic who headed it into the back of the net.

The home side got their first lead of the match in the 71st minute. Amro Tarek headed down a cross in the box but was not able to clear it. Ibrahimovic collected the ball and half-volleyed it into the far corner to make it 4-3.

Both sides exchanged chances through to the final whistle and the match ended 4-3.

Three takeaways:

All hail Zlatan: The Zlatan hat trick stole the show tonight. He played a role in all four goals and was a terror from start to finish. He’s the Galaxy’s MVP this season and it’s not even close.

Terrible defending: Both defenses were abhorrent tonight. Poor marking and clearances by the center backs led to goals. As great as the offenses were tonight, the defending was just as bad, doing the goalkeepers no favors.

Tale of two streaks: With this win, the Galaxy are now unbeaten in nine straight, having won seven of their last 12. Despite the defensive struggles, their late surges have gotten them into a playoff spot. On the other side, the Lions have now lost 13 of their last 14 matches, the lone win coming at home against a struggling Toronto FC. Their playoff hopes look bleaker and bleaker.

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