Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his first MLS hat-trick as LA Galaxy came from behind on three occasions to beat Orlando City 4-3 in a thrilling clash on Sunday.
Former Manchester United striker Ibrahimovic was the hero at Stubhub Center, where the Swedish star netted three second-half goals as the rallying Galaxy extended their unbeaten streak in the league to nine matches.
The Galaxy found themselves trailing 2-1 at the break after Ibrahimovic teed up Giovani dos Santos for the equaliser to cancel out Orlando’s 18th-minute opener, only for the visitors to restore their lead on the stroke of half-time thanks to Mickael Ciani’s own goal.
LA restored parity again two minutes into the second half when Ibrahimovic rose highest to head home a Dos Santos cross in California.
The topsy-turvy contest continued after Dominic Dwyer made it 3-2 in favour of Orlando in the 54th minute, however, Ibrahimovic took matters into his hands from that moment.
Ibrahimovic found the back of the net with a diving header – set up by Oma Kamara – with 23 minutes remaining before the 36-year-old chested the ball and fired a thunderous half-volley past Earl Edwards four minutes later.
It took Ibrahimovic’s tally to 15 goals in 17 appearances since arriving from United as the Galaxy – who staged a stunning comeback against Los Angeles FC to earn a draw on Thursday – moved within a point of LAFC and seven points of Western Conference leaders Dallas.
15 goals in 17 #LAGalaxy appearances.
Witness @Ibra_official’s first hat trick in @MLS pic.twitter.com/KNGqoOFxHq
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 30, 2018
Slumping Orlando, meanwhile, crashed to their third consecutive defeat to be ninth in the Eastern Conference.
In Sunday’s other fixture, in-form Seattle Sounders accounted for New York City 3-1 to snap the visitors’ four-match winning run.
Cristian Roldan put the Sounders in front in the 36th minute while Gustav Svensson doubled Seattle’s advantage in the 51st minute.
Jesus Medina cut Seattle’s lead in half in the 68th minute, but Harry Shipp sealed the Sounders win with a late goal.
Unbeaten in six with three wins in a row, the Sounders are up to 26 points, five behind the Real Salt Lake for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
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