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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
DC United
Toronto FC

18/10/2018 00:30
1
flag_55 Us1
Orlando City SC
Seattle Sounders

18/10/2018 00:30
2
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Whitecaps FC
Sporting KC

18/10/2018 03:00
2
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Real Salt Lake
N.E Revolution

19/10/2018 02:00
1

USA Major League Soccer - predictions, tips, statistics
Eastern Conference
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Atlanta United 66 32 20 6 6 67 39 28
2. New York Red Bulls 65 32 20 5 7 60 33 27
3. New York City FC 53 32 15 8 9 55 41 14
4. Philadelphia Union 50 32 15 5 12 48 46 2
5. Columbus Crew 48 32 13 9 10 39 41 -2
6. DC United 44 31 12 8 11 56 49 7
7. Montreal Impact 43 32 13 4 15 45 52 -7
8. N.E Revolution 38 32 9 11 12 47 51 -4
9. Toronto FC 33 31 9 6 16 55 60 -5
10. Chicago Fire 31 32 8 7 17 47 59 -12
11. Orlando City SC 25 31 7 4 20 40 70 -30
Western Conference
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. FC Dallas 57 32 16 9 7 51 39 12
2. Los Angeles FC 56 32 16 8 8 65 48 17
3. Sporting KC 53 31 15 8 8 56 38 18
4. Portland Timbers 51 32 14 9 9 50 46 4
5. Seattle Sounders 50 31 15 5 11 45 33 12
6. Real Salt Lake 46 32 13 7 12 51 54 -3
7. Los Angeles Galaxy 45 32 12 9 11 61 60 1
8. Whitecaps FC 43 31 12 7 12 49 60 -11
9. Minnesota United 36 32 11 3 18 46 65 -19
10. Houston Dynamo 35 32 9 8 15 53 53 0
11. Colorado Rapids 27 32 7 6 19 34 62 -28
12. SJ Earthquakes 20 32 4 8 20 48 69 -21

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