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Surging Galaxy ride Ibrahimovic magic to 3-1 win (video)

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a man on fire, and the LA Galaxy are rounding into form.

The Galaxy overcame an early deficit in Chester to clobber the Philadelphia Union 3-1 on Saturday behind a goal and an assist from their world-class striker.

[ MORE: Neymar on diving ]

Romain Alessandrini had two assists, while Michael Ciani and Ola Kamara also scored for LA. CJ Sapong scored for Philly, assisted by Borek Dockal.

Unbeaten-in-seven LA moves into fourth in the West with the win, while Philadelphia remains three points back of sixth in the East.

Ibrahimovic has now scored in six of his last seven matches, and has 12 goals and two assists in 21 matches overall.

Let’s start with the assist, which we must’ve seen two dozen times when the big Swede was with Paris Saint-Germain.

Ibrahimovic takes a difficult pass out of the air with absurd touch, then waits for the right time to send an impeccable through ball into the path of Kamara.

As for the goal, you almost feel for Mark McKenzie.

The Union’s Homegrown defender has to choose between Alessandrini darting into his box and allowing Ibrahimovic a lick of space.

He gives it, understandably, then rushes to close down Ibrahimovic.

It wasn’t fast enough. Boom.

FOLLOW LIVE: Zlatan, Galaxy host West’s best Sporting KC

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s MLS debut quickly became the most viral moment in league history last Saturday, when he scored an equalizing goal from a 40-yard side-volley and followed that up with the game-winning goal a few minutes later.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: LA Galaxy vs. Sporting KC ]

Fast-forward eight days, and the LA Galaxy are in action again on Sunday, hosting the Western Conference leaders, Sporting Kansas City, who have won three of their last four games and are unbeaten during that same stretch. LA, on the other hand, have won just one of their last three, but that win was the big one — 4-3 over Los Angeles FC in the first-ever El Trafico.

Hit the link above to follow along this evening, and, as always, check back to PST for full coverage after the game.

[ MORE: Three things we learned yesterday in MLS ]

The Galaxy have dealt with a number of injuries to players expected to be key contributors already this season, but Romain Alessandrini (13 goals, 12 assists last season) returns to the starting lineup for the first time since opening day, as does Jonathan dos Santos (two games missed). Ibrahimovic, as well as Sebastian Lletget (broken foot to end 2017; started the last three games), are available off the bench.

MLS Snapshot: SKC top LA 2-1, make it 3 home wins in a week

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The game in 100 words (or less): Sporting Kansas City avoided the dreaded U.S. Open Cup hangover on Sunday, four short days after lifting the Cup here at Children’s Mercy Park, by beating the LA Galaxy, 2-1, to remain just a point back of the first-place Vancouver Whitecaps in the race for home-field advantage in the Western Conference. Daniel Salloi, scorer of the USOC-winning goal on Wednesday, and Diego Rubio put the exclamation point on a dominant first-performance by putting Sporting KC 2-0 ahead after 35 minutes. LA got a goal back through Romain Alessandrini’s curling free kick just before the hour mark, but that’s as close as Sigi Schmid’s side would get on the afternoon. The victory sets up a top-of-the-table clash between Sporting and Vancouver next Saturday. Also, Gyasi Zardes played 90 minutes at right back. It went about how you’d expect it to go.

[ MORE: TFC’s Shield celebration delayed | RSL end Seattle’s run at 13 ]

Three Four moments that mattered

1′ — Dos Santos should have seen red after 26 seconds — If video review wasn’t implemented to review plays like this, we should just get rid of video review altogether.

18′ — Salloi gets to Rubio’s cross, toe-pokes it home — Maybe Peter Vermes knew what he was doing when he traded Dom Dwyer, thus opening a boatload of minutes for Salloi and Rubio.

35′ — Rubio taps it in after Sinovic puts it on a platter — Sporting made this one look really, really easy.

58′ — Alessandrini curls a beauty past Melia — Not a whole lot Tim Melia could do about that one.

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Man of the match: Diego Rubio

Goalscorers: Salloi (18′), Rubio (35′), Alessandrini (58′)

MLS Snapshot: Galaxy hammer Red Bulls without injured Jones

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The game in 100 words (or less): In a shocking turn of events that no one could have possibly ever predicted (hopefully your sarcasm detector is going off right about now), the LA Galaxy were without Jermaine Jones (knee) for Sunday’s clash with the New York Red Bulls, and lo and behold, they appeared to be lightyears ahead of the version of themselves (read: “Jones in tow”) that labored spiraled out of control to the tune of two wins from their first nine games this season. Beyond the three goals scored, two of which were bagged by an extremely motivated side very early on, LA were 1) quick(er) on the counter; 2) most importantly, competent in transitioning and shifting everyone side to side when defending. If you watched this team over the first two and a half months of the season, you know that’s nothing short of a miracle. Final score: 3-1, Galaxy. Here’s hoping Bruce Arena is watching and takes note with regarding to his roster for World Cup qualifiers this summer. Also, of particular note: Romain Alessandrini will win Newcomer of the Year.

[ MORE: MLS (late-night) roundup | Afternoon roundup ]

Three moments that mattered

8′ — Alessandrini’s free kick untouched, hits paydirt — Jelle Van Damme was probably smart to not touch the ball, as his presence inside the six-yard box alone was enough to freeze Luis Robles in his tracks.

9′ — Alessandrini again, for 2-0 — Not so long after making it 1-0, Alessandrini to the penalty spot and hammered Giovani dos Santos’ cross past Robles to double LA’s lead. Alessandrini has six goals and four assists in his first 10 MLS games.

78′ — Alessandrini wins a penalty, Dos Santos converts — When life is good, life is really good.

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Man of the match: Romain Alessandrini

Goalscorers: Alessandrini (8′, 9′), Dos Santos (78′ – PK), Royer (90+3′)

MLS (afternoon) roundup: Basti scores, Fire win again; Larin downs LA late

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The sixth MLS Saturday of 2017 is nearly halfway complete. A quick roundup of the day’s early games…

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Chicago Fire 3-0 New England Revolution

Two wins, one draw — that’s Chicago’s record since signing Bastian Schweinsteiger. Now, an asterisk (or a few): all three games were played at home; in the first game, against the Montreal Impact, Ignacio Piatti was unavailable due to injury; in the second game, against Columbus Crew SC, Gregg Berhalter pieced together one of the worst starting lineups we’ve seen all season; in the third game, on Saturday, Chicago had a man advantage for over an hour.

The answer to “How good are the Fire, exactly?” is coming soon. For now, enjoy Schweinsteiger scoring his second MLS. Nemanja Nikolic also bagged a brace, his third and fourth goals since coming to the league in the winter. So far, it’s been an unbelievable return on signings made during the offseason (Schweinsteiger, Nikolic, Dax McCarty and Juninho, to name a few).

Orlando City SC 2-1 LA Galaxy

The “Cyle Larin is going to Europe, and soon” hype train continues to pick up steam, as the 21-year-old Canadian international bagged his 35th career goal (Orlando have scored exactly 100 in 73 MLS games) and fourth this season, this time an extremely late winner to top LA and preserve the Lions’ 100 percent home record at the brand new Orlando City Stadium.

Will Johnson fired Orlando into the lead in the 9th minute, chesting the ball out of the air and unleashing a powerful volley toward the far post. LA’s Clement Diop — nor any goalkeeper in the world, for that matter — didn’t have a chance. Romain Alessandrini pulled LA level with his fourth goal in three games, in the 83rd minute, but Larin reacted quickest when the ball came to him at the top of the six-yard box, and just like that, Orlando are top of the Eastern Conference (for now).

Montreal Impact 2-1 Atlanta United

Red cards change games, no matter when they’re given, but they change games especially drastically when they’re handed out before halftime. Atlanta’s Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was shown a straight red for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity — it was questionable — in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time. That allowed Ignacio Piatti to score from the penalty spot, canceling out Kenwyne Jones‘ opener, his first MLS goal.

For the majority of the second half — as in, all but the final 30 seconds of extra time — Atlanta were hugely deserving of the draw and would have even felt hard done by given the nature of the dismissal. Alas, “deserve” doesn’t really mean much in soccer, and Anthony Jackson-Hamel scored from what can only be called a fortunate redirect after three and a half minutes of stoppage time.