Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked the one-year anniversary of his memorable MLS debut by winning, and converting, a pair of penalties to give the LA Galaxy a narrow 2-1 home victory over the Portland Timbers on Sunday.
They were goals no. 2 and 3 of the season for Ibrahimovic after missing each of the last two games due to injury, and the Galaxy’s third victory in four games to start the 2019 season.
Ibrahimovic was shouldered to the ground for the first one, which he calmly tucked inside the left post in the 33rd minute. LA’s lead lasted just 11 minutes, though, as the Timbers quickly carved up the often-troublesome Galaxy defense with some slick one-touch passing to set up Jeremy Ebobisse just before halftime.
The big Swede was then tripped up inside the box by goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, though there was plenty of discrepancy over 1) whether or not there was any contact, and 2) who initiated said contact which might or might not have occurred. With the game potentially on the line in the 65th minute, Ibrahimovic opted for the panenka penalty, which floated so slowly toward the goal that Attinella actually made a second attempt at saving the shot after his initial dive left proved foolish. Alas, he had no chance as Ibrahimovic strolled to the endline and celebrated yet another game-winning goal.