Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace gives LA Galaxy 3-0 win, keeping playoff hopes alive

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CARSON, CA - AUGUST 14: Zlatan Ibrahimovic #9 of Los Angeles Galaxy warms up prior to the MLS match between the Colorado Rapids and the Los Angeles Galaxy at StubHub Center on August 14, 2018 in Carson, California. The Rapids and Galaxy played to a 2-2 draw. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

CARSON, CALIF. (September 29, 2018) – The LA Galaxy got a big win on Saturday night, keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. They defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3-0 behind a Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace gives LA Galaxy 3-0 win, keeping playoff hopes alive

Just four minutes in the Galaxy had a penalty kick. Ibrahimovic set up Romain Alessandrini in a good position, who dribbled through the box and got tripped up by Marcel de Jong. Ibrahimovic stepped up to take it and scored.

The score remained 1-0 at halftime with good competition from the run of play. Ibrahimovic and Ola Kamara got several decent chances for the Galaxy. Forward Kei Kamara got into some good positions, but it was Alphonso Davies who had the best chance off a set piece.

Los Angeles doubled their advantage in the 58th minute. Rolf Feltscher got the ball to Ibrahimovic in space outside the box. He dribbled around Aly Ghazal and fired a rocket that goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic had no chance at.

The home side put the icing on the cake in the 77th minute. Ibrahimovic won a PK after getting taken down in the box by Doneil Henry. The forward, instead of going for a hattrick, passed the chance off to Alessandrini (who drew the PK for his first goal). The Frenchman converted and the match ended 3-0.

Three takeaways:

Simplicity under new coach: Dominic Kinnear has now gotten the Galaxy back to back wins. He’s simplified the game plan, putting Jonathan dos Santos in a position to succeed as a presser in the midfield. Dave Romney and Daniel Steres have done well at center back, keeping things simple and playing it safe. The new coach bump appears to be present.

Class from the Lion: The Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace was the difference in this game, but it could have been a hattrick. Instead of going for a third goal on the second half PK, he handed the ball off to Alessandrini. It was a nice exchange, as both players drew a PK that the other converted on in the match.

Playoff hopes affected: This game was a de facto playoff for who would challenge Seattle Sounders FC and Real Salt Lake for a playoff spot. Despite sacking Carl Robinson earlier this week, Vancouver seemed lacking in new ideas. The Galaxy cut off service to Kamara from the most part and Davies didn’t have his best night. On the other side, the Galaxy are now within one point of sixth place RSL. They don’t control their own destiny, but they’re in the hunt.

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