The LA Galaxy’s new signing began the game on the bench for their first ever match against expansion side, and local rival, Los Angeles FC, and it appeared his debut would be a disappointment.
The sellout crowd at the StubHub center saw the home team go down 3-0 early in the second half on the strength of a brace by LAFC’s Carlos Vela and an own goal.
However the Galaxy pulled one back early in the second half and, with the crowd chanting “We want Zlatan”, would bring on Ibrahimovic in the 71st minute, still trailing 3-1.
The big striker made an immediate impact, contributing in the build up to the Galaxy’s second goal. But Ibrahimovic then stole the show when he struck a 35-yard screamer to level the scoreline at 3-3.
Ibrahimovic made it a debut that Galaxy fans will never forget as he added a stoppage time headed winner to give his new team an improbable comeback victory.
And after the match, Ibrahimovic was all smiles, saying he had delivered what his new team’s fans had wanted.
“They were saying, ‘We want Zlatan, we want Zlatan,’ so I gave them Zlatan,” he told FOX.
Ibrahimovic also described his first goal with the club, his bold decision to take on a 35-yard shot in an attempt to catch LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller off his line, and how excited he was to score.
“I saw the goalkeeper went out, and yeah, just put it over him. I was thinking to save strength, because I don’t know how much I would have, so ‘let’s shoot in one’ I said,” Ibrahimovic explained of his thought process.
“I was happy. Too much adrenaline. It’s difficult to describe the feeling after you score a goal like that.”
The 36-year-old was also pleased to continue his trend scoring on his debut for a new team.
“My history, often when I come to a new team, I always score in the first official game. So I wouldn’t let it down this time. I had to score.”
Ibrahimovic’s Manchester United career came to a disappointing end as a result of a serious knee injury that required surgery. The big Swede suffered from fitness issues upon returning this season for the Premier League club, and the lingering problems has sidelined him since December.
But after scoring twice, Ibrahimovic claimed that everything felt just fine.
“It felt ok,” Ibrahimovic said when asked about his knee. “After a goal like this, I have no complaints.”
The win was the Galaxy’s second of the season as the team looks to bounce back from a disastrous 2017 campaign that saw them finish bottom of the Western Conference.
“Let’s hope we can continue like this,” Ibrahimovic said.
The Galaxy will be hoping he can continue like this as well.