Vancouver defender Ali Adnan has ugly Panenka penalty saved (video)

Associated Press
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There’s been a wave of Panenka penalty attempts across world soccer in the last few months, and when they work, they make the penalty taker look really slick.

When they don’t work, they’re U-G-L-Y.

That’s what happened to Vancouver Whitecaps defender Ali Adnan on Friday night, as he came off worse for wear after failing to capitalize on the chance to give his side an early lead at home over the LA Galaxy.

Lass Bangoura was fouled by Jorgen Skjelvik in the very first minute of the game, leading the referee to award Vancouver the penalty. Adnan stepped up and attempted the Panenka. Unfortunately, his effort was far too light and instead of tucking into the back of the net over top of a sprawled out David Bingham, the weak shot fell short, allowing Bingham to recover just enough from his dive to reach back and collect the ball before it went over the line.

*cringe*

The LA Galaxy twitter account poked fun at the miss, alluding to the daring nature of their own striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic that has become famous as his own slogan. Zlatan started the match for the Galaxy having scored three goals in the two matches he has been healthy enough to play in, bagging a brace last time out against Portland that included – you guessed it – a Panenka.

The saved penalty is another blow to Vancouver, who has collected just two points through the first five matches of the season, nestling into the bottom third of the Western Conference and finding themselves on the wrong end of a major gulf in points already. The Galaxy, meanwhile, came into this match with 10 points through five matches, having already collected three wins.

MLS roundup: ATL roll past Galaxy; RSL survive 10-man Rapids

Photo credit: Real Salt Lake / @RealSaltLake
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A roundup of, plus a few quick thoughts about, all of Saturday’s action from around MLS…

[ MORE: Other MLS Things — The Archive ]

LA Galaxy 0-2 Atlanta UnitedFULL HIGHLIGHTS

Two teams with fantastic attacking talent but very little in terms of a strong, controlling midfield presence — you’d expect a game like that to be wide open with plenty of chances at both ends of the field, and you’d have been right about Atlanta’s 2-0 victory over LA (at least for the opening 45 minutes. The stark difference between the two sides on Saturday? Atlanta’s ability to turn shooting chances into scoring chances, and LA’s inability to do so.

In truth, the chance resulting in the Five Stripes’ opening goal, which also turned out to be the winner, was the scrappiest once of the bunch.

Miguel Almiron was sensational on the night — constantly on the ball in dangerous areas, constantly gliding past one and two white shirts, constantly winning free kicks (and a penalty) in those dangerous areas. Since suffering a 4-0 defeat on opening day, Tata Martino’s side is unbeaten in their last six games (five wins) and moved to within a point of Eastern Conference- and Supporters’ Shield-leading New York City FC.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was rendered completely ineffective and he — dare I say it — was little more than a passenger for the vast majority of Saturday’s game. Jonathan dos Santos picked up an injury during warmups, forcing Baggio Husidic into the starting lineup, and that did LA no favors when it came time to slow Atlanta’s momentum through the center of the field (which was the entire game).

Columbus Crew SC 2-2 New England RevolutionFULL HIGHLIGHTS

If you had New England sitting above Columbus in the standings at any point this season, let alone after eight weeks, please proceed to the cash-out window immediately. Brad Friedel‘s bunch has played some pretty passable, if unexciting, soccer thus far and have picked up points in five of their seven games played. They’ve even won four points from their first three games away from home, which is two-thirds of the way to matching last season’s paltry haul of six.

Saturday’s 2-2 draw in Columbus saw the Revs come from behind twice to secure a well-earned and deserved point. Cristian Penilla has flown under the radar with regard to impact signings of the offseason — the Ecuadorian has two goals, including the stoppage-time equalizer on Saturday, and four assists in his first seven MLS games — and Diego Fagundez appears to have finally been handed the keys to the Revs’ attack with Lee Nguyen banished to the periphery (but still not traded away).

Real Salt Lake 3-0 Colorado RapidsFULL HIGHLIGHTS

Tim Howard was sent off after 20 minutes for handling the ball outside his penalty area — how great is that multi-million-dollar contract looking now? — yet Colorado so nearly held on for an away point against their Rocky Mountain Cup rivals. Alas, RSL scored three times in the final eight minutes of regular and stoppage time, helping the final score to match the lopsided nature of the preceding 60 minutes:

29 shots (10 on target), compared to just 12 (o on target) for Colorado; nearly 71 percent of possession; 571 passes, to just 228. The lopsidedness goes on and on.

Albert Rusnak scored a stunning free kick to complete the scoring, but was still upstaged by Damir Kreilach’s first MLS goal which came just three minutes earlier.

RSL have alternated wins and losses in each of their last six times out, which spells bad news for a suddenly important Friday night trip to Vancouver to face a Whitecaps side that 1) they beat at home earlier this month, and 2) has lost three straight, by a combined score of 10-1.

Elsewhere in MLS

Sporting KC 6-0 Vancouver Whitecaps — FULL RECAP
Montreal Impact 3-5 Los Angeles FC — FULL RECAP
Houston Dynamo 5-1 Toronto FC
Orlando City SC 3-2 San Jose Earthquakes
FC Dallas 2-0 Philadelphia Union

WATCH: Zlatan scores from 40, brings Galaxy back from 3-0 down

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu
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Welcome. To. Zlatan.

Dare. To. Zlatan.

It’s Zlatan’s world, we’re just allowed to live in it by the grace of Zlatan.

[ PL ROUNDUP: Man City 1 win closer to title; Liverpool storm back ]

Pick your lede, nothing else matters, because Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored a 40-yard side-volley to bring the LA Galaxy, who once upon a time trailed Los Angeles FC 3-0 in the first-ever El Trafico, back to 3-3 on his MLS debut.

He’s 36 years old, he’s less than 12 months removed from a major knee injury, he only just arrived to LA less than 48 hours ago, he only trained with his new teammates once on Friday. Nothing else matters when you’re Zlatan.

Ibrahimovic to MLS has “serious legs”

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
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Preferring to light the American soccer’s social media world on fire just before the USMNT takes on Bosnia and Herzegovina, ESPN’s Taylor Twellman poured fire on a long-rumored fire: Zlatan Ibrahimovic to California.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

That’s Carson, to be specific, as the LA Galaxy may be close to acquiring the Big Swede. Ibrahimovic’s Manchester United deal expires on June 30.

Ibrahimovic, 36, would give the Galaxy an absurd embarrassment of riches in attack, joining newly-acquired Ola Kamara as well as Giovani dos Santos, Jonathan dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, Sebastian Lletget, and Chris Pontius.

Are we missing anyone?

Ibrahimovic has scored just one goal in 187 minutes spread over seven appearances for United this season, scoring on Dec. 20 in the League Cup. He’s since missed almost every match with a knee injury.

Still, it’s difficult to believe Ibrahimovic wouldn’t score a boatload of goals in MLS even if he’s lost two steps, especially with Alessandrini and Dos Santos working combinations with the big ones, and Kamara lacing shots on goal.

It would also help ignite what MLS hopes will be one of its top rivalries, with LAFC debuting this season (The Cali Clasico isn’t chopped liver, either).

Over his career, Ibrahimovic has scored 403 goals for a total of seven clubs. Paris Saint-Germain saw 156 of those goals, with Inter Milan, Ajax, Juventus, AC Milan, Manchester United, and Barcelona next in line.

Mourinho: Ibrahimovic could return in December

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Dare to Zlatan? It could be only a couple of months away.

That’s according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who said the veteran striker could return from his torn ACL before the end of the calendar year.

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“Zlatan is here, he’s working here and under our control,” Mourinho told reporters. “He’s working as you would expect so, so, so hard. But he’s not to be back in the next week or next couple of weeks. Do I believe he’ll be back in 2017? Yes, I do. But it’s just a feeling.”

The big Swede scored 28 goals for Man United last year in all competitions, proving that he’s still got it at the age of 36, but it’s going to be tough for him to find his old form coming off an ACL injury at such an old age. After suffering the injury last April, it’s been a long road to recovery for Ibrahimovic.

However, with the play of Romelu Lukaku up top, Ibrahimovic would only play from time to time, which could help in his recovery both from the knee injury and just the general recovery between games.