Zlatan Ibrahimovic's header pushes LA Galaxy past Chicago Fire
As expected, Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his first start Saturday for the LA Galaxy.
As expected, his team-mates made a concerted effort to find him.
And as expected, "Ibra" got on the scoresheet as the Galaxy defeated the Fire 1-0 on a chilly day at Toyota Park in the Chicago suburbs.
But perhaps the most significant play of all was the wind. With a stiff breeze at their back, the Galaxy dominated with chances in the first half before Ibrahimovic connected with a header in extra time at the end of the first half with the assist coming from Ashley Cole
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (C) of Los Angeles Galaxy celebrates after scoring against the Chicago Fire during the first half of a MLS soccer match on April 14, 2018 at the Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois.Getty Images
Twice, would-be goals were disallowed, with Galaxy forward Ola Kamara offside on both plays, leaving Chicago lucky to be down by just one goal at the end of the first half.
The second half was a completely different story in terms of energy, purpose and chances. Now playing with the wind behind them, the Fire got chance after chance, including 10 corners, but couldn't break through.
Oddly quiet was Chicago's offensive powerhouse, Nemanja Nikolic. His best chance came in the 64th minute, but his header was saved by David Bingham to preserve a clean sheet.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (R) celebrates with Sebastian Lletget (L) of Los Angeles Galaxy after scoring against the Chicago Fire during the first half of a MLS soccer match on April 14, 2018 at the Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois.Getty Images
Bingham made some vital plays in the second half, though he often looked uncomfortable trying to account for the wind and Chicago's increased intensity, and a seemingly endless succession of corner kicks, 10 in the second half.
For Ibrahimovic, it was the longest he has played in well over a year after suffering a serious knee injury and undergoing surgery while he was with Manchester United. His fitness wasn't up to snuff, his energy flagging in the second half, but not before getting a dangerous chance in the 75th minute. Fire goalie Richard Sanchez made the save on his left-footed shot in the box.
Ultimately, the Galaxy didn't need the insurance, notching their first road win of the season and leaving the Fire and their fans frustrated and with still a single victory on the season.