CARSON, Calif. – When Los Angeles calls, Zlatan Ibrahimović answers.
Ibrahimović showed his world-class ability in breathtaking fashion on Saturday by scoring two goals in less than 20 minutes in the Galaxy’s 4-3 comeback victory over LAFC. After a Sebastian Lletget finish put the Galaxy in striking distance after LAFC gathered a 3-0 lead, Ibrahimović knew what he had to do.
“I just wanted to come in,” he said. “The fans were demanding something and I gave them Zlatan.”
But even he admitted that it wasn’t easy, given that the forward was playing with new teammates just two days removed from a Transatlantic flight.
“I felt like I played 40 games for my 20 minutes,” Ibrahimović said. “I was feeling everything, jet lag, I hadn’t played for a long time, I did the first sprint and I started to breathe immediately. When the second came, I thought this time I’ll shoot and that’s the ball that went in.
“I had a lot of adrenaline. Step-by-step you build it up. I need to come into a rhythm and to feel the game, but it is not only about the game, but you need to adjust for the weather and adjust for the way the team plays and we need to have a balance the way you can play to save strength for the whole game.”
Still dealing with fatigue, Ibrahimović knew that he needed to be efficient. And he was, making just 11 touches, tallying two shots, and scoring twice. As impressive as brief stint was, nothing will be more important—or will garner more attention than Ibrahimović’s first tally, a stunning finish from more than 40 yards.
Head coach Sigi Schmid described the goal as a YouTube sensation, but for the forward, it was simply an exercise in conserving his effort.
“Normally as a second striker, you go behind (the play) if the ball would come, just like it came …I saw the goalkeeper (Tyler Miller) he was out and I said I will shoot it over, but it was all depending how do I shoot, do I shoot high or in front to put power on it. I chose the power way and it went in,” he said. “Then the adrenaline starts, you starts and you don’t want it to finish. You take off your shirt and you just want to celebrate with the fans. You want to feel the energy that is going through the stadium. If I would have more strength, I would have run all over the pitch, but I just managed one side of the field.
As the forward looks to build off his stunning showing, he believes that he’s still got plenty left to give to his new club.
“I’m still hungry, I’m still hungry,” Ibrahimović said. “It was a good start.”