Sounders cap perfect July with victory
CALIFORNIA, July 30, (RTRS): Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his first MLS hat trick during a 24-minute stretch of the second half, lifting the LA Galaxy to a 4-3, come-from-behind victory over Orlando City on Sunday night in Carson, Calif.
Ibrahimovic now has 15 goals over 17 appearances for the Galaxy, scoring multiple goals five times since joining the club in late March.
Giovani dos Santos also scored on an assist from Ibrahimovic and added an assist of his own for LA (10-7-5, 35 points). The Galaxy are unbeaten in their past nine matches and now sit in third place in the Western Conference.
Cristian Higuita and Dom Dwyer scored for Orlando City, who also benefited from an own goal. The Lions (7-14-1, 22 points) held a one-goal lead on three separate occasions.
Orlando City has lost three straight and is 1-12-0 over its past 13 matches. The Lions have conceded four or more goals in four separate matches during that stretch.
Ibrahimovic finished with an impressive seven shots on goal, three more than in any of his previous MLS appearances.
He scored his first goal of the night just two minutes into the second half, when he met dos Santos’ early cross from the left with a thundering header that beat goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. to the top right corner, tying the game at 2-2.
Dwyer gave Orlando the lead back seven minutes later when he headed in Mohamed El-Munir’s cross from the left, but Ibrahimovic leveled the score again in the 67th minute.
This time, Ibrahimovic’s header freed teammate Ola Kamara down the right. Kamara returned the favor with a perfect cross, and Ibrahimovic sent a diving header beyond Edwards to make it 3-3.
The Swedish superstar then put LA ahead for the first time all evening in the 71st minute, reaching a poor defensive clearance and smashing a half volley with his second touch inside the left post.
Higuita gave Orlando the lead in the 18th minute, finishing between goalkeeper David Bingham and the near post after playing some exceptional combinations with Sacha Kljestan to work free.
The Galaxy leveled through dos Santos 21 minutes later, when he took Ibrahimovic’s layoff pass and drove a low finish inside the left post.
Orlando regained the lead a minute before halftime when Kljestan’s cross deflected off Galaxy defender Michael Ciani and across the goal line to make it 2-1.
Swedish international Gustav Svensson, recently back from the World Cup in Russia, scored early in the second half as the Seattle Sounders capped an undefeated July with a 3-1 victory against visiting New York City FC.
Cristian Roldan and Harry Shipp also scored for the two-time defending Western Conference champion Sounders (7-9-5, 26 points), who improved to 4-0-2 this month as they attempt to rally to avoid missing the playoffs for the time in the 10-year history of the franchise.
NYCFC (13-5-4, 43 points) had its four-match winning streak snapped, in which it hadn’t allowed a goal. New York was coming off a 2-0 victory Thursday night at Orlando City FC and a cross-country flight.
Trailing 2-0, New York’s Jesus Medina scored in the 68th minute with assists from Jo Inge Berget and Jonathan Lewis, but the visitors were unable to get the equalizer and Shipp added an insurance goal for Seattle in the 86th.
Roldan ended New York’s franchise-record scoreless streak at 433 minutes with his first-half goal.
He pounced on Kelvin Leerdam’s deflected cross and beat goalkeeper Sean Johnson from about eight yards out in the 36th minute, giving the Sounders a 1-0 halftime lead.
Svensson scored what proved to be the winner in the 51st minute, running onto a back pass from Nicolas Lodeiro and blasting a 25-yard shot into the lower left corner of the net, past a diving Johnson. Shipp also was credited with an assist on the goal.
The Sounders clinched it late when Will Bruin, who came on as a second-half substitute, controlled the ball at the end line and passed back to a wide-open Shipp, whose right-footed shot beat Johnson to the short side just inside the left post.
Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei was forced to make just two saves as only three of NYC’s 19 shots found the target.
Forward David Villa, who shares NYC’s scoring lead, didn’t make the trip because of a knee injury, and midfielder Alex Ring was suspended by MLS because of yellow-card accumulation.