CARSON, Calif. (AP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his second hat trick in Major League Soccer and the LA Galaxy beat rival Los Angeles FC 3-2 on Friday night in their first meeting of the season.
Ibrahimovic, who is second in the league with 16 goals, scored in the 8th, 56th and 70th minutes. The 37-year-old Swedish star’s first MLS hat trick came last season against Orlando City.
Ibrahimovic has six goals in four matches against LAFC in the rivalry nicknamed “El Trafico”.
MLS scoring leader Carlos Vela scored twice for LAFCs. The forward has 21 goals in 20 games and is the fastest to reach 20 goals in a season in MLS history.
LAFC dropped just its third match in 21 matches. It leads MLS with 46 points, but has not been able to beat its rival during its two seasons. The Galaxy (12-8-1) – who moved into second in the Western Conference with 37 points – have two wins while the other two ended in ties.
LAFC (14-3-4) opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Vela converted on a penalty kick. Vela drew the penalty when Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham came off his line and upended the forward near the goal.
Ibrahimovic evened it four minutes later when he got the feed from Julian Araujo, split defenders Walker Zimmerman and Eddie Segura and fired a shot from the top of the box that beat Tyler Miller.
Ibrahimovic then gave the Galaxy the lead 11 minutes into the second half when he took a pass from Diego Polenta, went over Jordan Harvey and headed it into the net.
He completed the hat trick 14 minutes later with a blast from 21 yards out off Favio Alvarez’s pass.
Vela brought LAFC within a goal in the 97th minute off Eduard Atuesta’s assist.