Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores first hat-trick for Galaxy in win over Orlando City
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.