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MLS – The Zlatan Ibrahimovic effect
05 April 2018, 11:21
MLS – The Zlatan Ibrahimovic effect
Baranov E / Shutterstock.com

The Los Angeles Galaxy went into last Saturday's first ever Los Angeles Derby without many of their key players. There was no Giovani Dos Santos nor was there Romain Alessandrini. New signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic wasn't even match fit.

Yet without the two star players, a 25% healthy Ibrahimovic was all the Galaxy needed to defeat their rivals Los Angeles FC.

Down 3-1 when Ibrahimovic was introduced to the fixture in the 71st minute, the Swedes' emphatic wonder goal from about 40-yards out brought the two teams level. It followed Chris Pontius' goal which the Galaxy tallied moments after the former Manchester United player joined the game. Ibrahimovic popped up in the first minute of stoppage-time to score the winner, although there were cries of offsides.

Ibrahimovic's impact in just over 20 minutes on the pitch showed just how much better he is than the rest of the league's forward talent. It also showed that Ibrahimovic, despite being 36, can bully and outclass MLS's defenders.

The Galaxy improved its attack greatly with Ibrahimovic's signing. The problem for the team is the lack of quality in midfield and defence. The Galaxy's defenders gave up three goals in the opening 45 minutes of the derby. LAFC moved through the Galaxy with ease during the first half. However, the Angels turned off for large parts of the second interval and allowed the Galaxy back into the game.

Galaxy manager Sigi Schmid's side looked slow and too often midfielders were receiving passes from defenders while facing their own goal. It was a slow build-up and it made the team extremely easy to defend against until Ibrahimovic came on and stretched the LAFC defence. Galaxy left-back Ashley Cole looked every bit his age. The 37-year-old may have been given the captain's armband, but he looked incredible slow and had difficulty defending against LAFC's younger, quicker attackers.

Schmid has little wiggle room to add quality to his side. The team has invested heavily in attack, and the defence seems to have been neglected. It was a terrible decision as the Galaxy gave up the second most goals (67) a season ago and finished dead last in the overall MLS points standings. The team did bring in goalkeeper David Bingham in the offseason, but even the best goalkeepers need quality defenders in front of them.

The Galaxy may have seven points from 12 after four matches, but Schmid has to sort his attacking tactics out along with improving his defence. Ibrahimovic's signing has already earned the Galaxy three points. However, Schmid cannot rely on the Swede to turn the tide of a game every week. The squad must learn to defend.

The Galaxy faced a big test against LAFC in the derby last weekend. Now the team must play the MLS Western Conference's top team in terms of points, Sporting KC. The Blues have secured 10 points from 15 and Sporting are undefeated in their last four fixtures. The Galaxy's defence - or lack thereof – should once again be a factor in the tie. Even with Ibrahimovic and playing at home, Sporting will pick up all three points until the Galaxy can learn to defend.

Predictions for Major League Soccer

Home team - Away team Forebet
flag_55 Us1
Minnesota United
N.E Revolution

19/07/2018 01:00
2
flag_55 Us1
Atlanta United
DC United

21/07/2018 20:30
1
flag_55 Us1
Seattle Sounders
Whitecaps FC

21/07/2018 21:00
X
flag_55 Us1
Chicago Fire
Toronto FC

22/07/2018 00:00
1

USA Major League Soccer - predictions, tips, statistics

Featured match

Home team - Away team Forebet
flag_16 Nl1
PEC Zwolle
SC Heerenveen

10/08/2018 19:00
1

Eastern Conference
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Atlanta United 44 22 13 5 4 46 25 21
2. New York City FC 40 20 12 4 4 40 24 16
3. New York Red Bulls 38 19 12 2 5 39 19 20
4. Columbus Crew 33 22 9 6 7 27 27 0
5. N.E Revolution 28 21 7 7 7 33 32 1
6. Montreal Impact 28 22 9 1 12 28 37 -9
7. Philadelphia Union 24 20 7 3 10 26 33 -7
8. Chicago Fire 23 22 6 5 11 34 43 -9
9. Orlando City SC 22 20 7 1 12 29 45 -16
10. Toronto FC 19 20 5 4 11 32 39 -7
11. DC United 14 16 3 5 8 27 33 -6
Western Conference
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. FC Dallas 39 20 11 6 3 32 23 9
2. Los Angeles FC 35 19 10 5 4 41 28 13
3. Sporting KC 33 20 9 6 5 37 27 10
4. Los Angeles Galaxy 31 20 9 4 7 37 31 6
5. Portland Timbers 31 18 8 7 3 28 24 4
6. Real Salt Lake 30 21 9 3 9 31 39 -8
7. Houston Dynamo 27 19 7 6 6 37 27 10
8. Whitecaps FC 26 21 7 5 9 30 42 -12
9. Minnesota United 25 20 8 1 11 28 39 -11
10. Seattle Sounders 20 19 5 5 9 18 23 -5
11. Colorado Rapids 17 20 4 5 11 24 34 -10
12. SJ Earthquakes 12 19 2 6 11 29 39 -10

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